The Globe and Mail reports in its Wednesday edition that for natural gas, the route to Pacific markets faces global competition and the risk that high export terminal construction costs will scupper projects expected to cost tens of billions of dollars.
The Globe's Nathan VanderKlippe writes that now those who pump a third kind of energy -- liquefied petroleum gas, made up of products like propane and butane -- are quietly attempting to open new Asian markets, hoping they will find an easier way through British Columbia.
Like oil and natural gas, LPG production in North America has gained speed in recent years, and subsequently faced declining prices. And, like oil and natural gas, prices for LPG are much higher outside the continent. By one calculation, propane sold to Japan could fetch prices up to a third higher.
LPG has long moved on rail cars, allowing it to skip a challenging and expensive pipeline. That stands to lower the difficulty in launching sales to Asia, a factor that has raised some optimism among companies like AltaGas and Pembina Pipeline, which are both pursuing export terminals on Canada's west coast.
"It makes a lot of sense," says analyst Steven Paget at FirstEnergy Capital.
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