Marvin Odum, upstream director for American operations at Royal Dutch Shell, speaking at the spring policy forum for the Canadian American Business Council, said U.S. and Canadian natural gas markets were ripe for exports.
"Alberta and British Columbia alone are probably sitting on more than 200 trillion cubic feet of competitive natural gas," he said in his address. "Natural gas production from tight shale and sandstone in the U.S. and Canada nearly doubled between 2005 and 2010."
Odum said the Chinese economy could drive 50 percent of the world's growth in natural gas demand by the end of the current decade.
Shell in May announced it teamed with Korea Gas Corp., Mitsubishi Corp. and PetroChina Co. Ltd to propose a liquefied natural gas export hub in western Canada.
The project would consist of two processing units that could produce as much as 6 million tons of LNG per year each.
"LNG exports to Asia can open a market for North America -- and especially Canada -- worth billions of dollars," said Odum. "It could sustain investments, jobs and provide long-term income through royalties and taxes in North America, while helping China and the rest of emerging Asia secure a lower-carbon energy future."