Ottawa extends LNG export licenses to 40 years

Tanker carrying LNG | File photo

The federal government is extending the lifespan of liquefied natural gas export licenses, the latest rollback in its quest to convince one of nearly 20 LNG proponents to put down roots in B.C. 

The 2015 budget extends LNG export licenses from a maximum of 25 years to 40.

The government hopes extending the life of a licenses will "improve regulatory certainty" for companies considering LNG plants on B.C.'s west coast.

The National Energy Board (NEB) makes a decision whether to issue export permits for oil and gas projects after a regulatory review before the federal government makes the final call.

It's the latest pot sweetener from the federal Conservatives, which in February rolled out a capital cost allowance aimed at making it cheaper to build LNG facilities.

The B.C. LNG Alliance, a trade association aimed at promoting the industry in Canada and abroad, is pleased with the move.

The group — made up of seven companies and partnerships with export proposals on the West Coast — said it "further encourages the development of an LNG industry and ensures it can compete globally over the long term."

Malaysian energy company Petronas, the majority owner of Pacific Northwest LNG, is expected to make a decision whether to invest in its LNG plant in June. Last fall, the company successfully lobbied both the provincial and federal government for tax breaks.

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