Canada and Malaysia are developing new floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) projects to supply super-chilled fuel to Asian markets amid rising demand for natural gas to support the transition to clean energy, according to a new report from Fitch Solutions.
“Buoyed by the growing demand for natural gas to support power generation and the energy transition, the new proposals in Malaysia and Canada target the Asian import market, in particular China,” Fitch Solutions said.
Demand for supercooled LNG has surged in recent years as large, energy-consuming nations, including China and India, wean themselves off dirtier coal to protect the environment.
Long-term demand for liquefied natural gas is expected to double to 700 million tonnes by 2040 as the world consumes more gas to offset polluting fuels such as coal, Anglo-Dutch major Shell said in an annual outlook last year.
Two Canadian projects are already in the planning stage and include the Cedar LNG project, near Kitimat in British Columbia, and the Ksi Lisims project, which is located on the north-west coast of Canada.
The Cedar project, which will have a total export capacity of 3 million tonnes per annum, is expected to cost about $2.4 billion and first shipments from the site are expected to begin in 2027, according to Fitch.
Total investment in the Ksi Lisims project, which will have a total export capacity of 12 million tonnes a year, is estimated at $10bn.
Indigenous group Haisla Nation is leading the Cedar project, while the Pembina Pipeline Corporation will hold a 50 per cent stake. The project is being developed by Nisga’a Nation, Rockies LNG Partners and Western LNG.
Malaysia’s Petronas has also announced preliminary plans for the development of a third FLNG project, PFLNG Tiga. The tender for a front-end engineering and design study was issued in August and targets a near-shore facility with a capacity of 2 million tonnes a year, Fitch said.
“High volatility demonstrated by LNG spot prices over the last two years has illustrated the continued need for FLNG projects to demonstrate low development costs in order to weather bouts of low natural gas prices,” Fitch said.
Should LNG demand substantially outstrip supply in the coming years, FLNG solutions could become more common in regions with large reserves of untapped natural gas, according to Fitch.
The price of natural gas has increased since the start of the year to trade at $4.13 per million British thermal units on Friday.