“And if that could include sharing infrastructure, sharing logistics, economies of scale on plants, we’ll look at all of those levers that can make a project most attractive to us, while managing the risk we have.”
Imperial’s LNG ambitions – which are being pursued alongside U.S. parent ExxonMobil – are in their very early stages. Kruger said he can’t speculate on what other companies may or may not do.
“But we’re going to look at what can make our project the most attractive and the most valuable, and if that includes co-operating with others in some form or fashion in any part of the value chain, we’ll look at it seriously.”
Together, Imperial and Exxon have a large acreage position in northeastern B.C.’s gas-rich Horn River Basin, recently augmented by the $3.1-billion acquisition of Celtic Exploration, which had shale gas holdings in the Montney formation in B.C. and the Duvernay formation in Alberta.
The Canadian and U.S. companies also recently made an expression of interest in B.C. Crown land at Grassy Point, north of Prince Rupert, as a potential site for an LNG terminal, though it’s just one option being explored. Others looking at that location include Nexen, owned by Chinese firm CNOOC Ltd., Australia’s Woodside and Korea’s SK E&S.
There are scores of proposals on the drawing board to chill northeast B.C. natural gas into a liquid state, enabling the resource to be shipped to lucrative Asian markets by tanker. Multi-billion dollar projects led by Shell, Chevron and Malaysia’s Petronas are just a few that are currently on the go.
Although many other projects are forging ahead, Kruger said he’s not concerned that the window of opportunity to get in on the LNG opportunity will eventually close on Imperial and Exxon.
“When you’re advancing something like an LNG project with its significant cost and all, we certainly pay attention to what others are doing, but our own progress and plans aren’t driven by what others may be doing,” he said.
Besides, he later added, “I think it’s a safe assumption to say they won’t all come to fruition.”