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Japan moves deeper into Canadian gas market

April 30, 2013 at 6:36 AM

CALGARY, Alberta, April 30 (UPI) -- An agreement by Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. to take a 10 percent stake in gas assets in Canada is indicative of global interest, an executive said.

JAPEX Montney, the Canadian subsidiary of the Japanese company, closed a deal with a group led by Progress Energy Canada Ltd. and Malaysian parent Petronas to buy a 10 percent share in natural gas assets in British Columbia.

Progress Energy President Michael Culbert said the Japanese investment in British Columbia "clearly defines" the region as having a global appeal.

"Progress has increased its development pace in northeastern British Columbia in 2013, building new capacity to supply Pacific Northwest LNG with abundant Canadian natural gas for export beginning in late 2018," he said in a statement.

The Japanese company agreed to buy a share of liquefied natural gas production for the next 20 years. Japan's use of natural gas increased in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

Culbert said the LNG sale to Japan was the first of many planned for Asian consumers. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sought to bring Asian and Canadian energy markets closer.

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