(EnergyAsia, November 22 2016, Tuesday) — Canada will begin shipping liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia from its first dedicated export plant in 2020, according to Vancouver-based owner and operator Woodfibre LNG Limited.

The Canadian firm announced its investment decision after receiving approval from parent Pacific Oil & Gas Limited, which is owned by the Singapore-based Royal Golden Eagle Group (RGE group) of companies. RGE is controlled by Indonesian tycoon Sukanto Tanoto.

Located seven kilometres southwest of Squamish town near Vancouver on the coast of British Columbia province, the C$1.6-billion plant will export the bulk of its annual 2.1-million-tonne production. (US$1=C$1.35).

In a statement, Woodfibre said it expects to start work next year on what it claims will be the world’s cleanest LNG as the plant will be powered by electricity generated by BC Hydro, the province’s main utilities company.

The company said the investment will deliver “650 good paying construction jobs per year during an estimated two-year construction period, 100 full-time jobs to the Woodfibre site during operation, plus a dozen or so administration-related jobs to Squamish during the life of the project.”

The project represents a small but vital victory for BC Premier Christy Clark who in 2013 had set an ambitious target to secure five multi-billion-dollar LNG plants that she said would add C$1-trillion to the provincial economy. This is no longer realistic following the collapse of global energy prices since mid-2014 and increasing opposition from environmental and aboriginal groups to massive greenfield oil and gas projects that threaten marine life, water sources and forests.

Of the 20 proposals submitted by international oil and gas companies, only Woodfibre’s has made it to the final investment decision (FID) stage. Malaysia’s Petronas, Shell, Exxon and Chevron are among the major players likely to face a long wait from shareholders to approve their proposals.

Clark described Woodfibre’s decision to proceed with the project as “a tremendous opportunity” for BC to help the global fight against climate change as well as create hundreds of jobs for people in the province.

Significantly, Woodfibre also received the endorsement of John Horgan, leader of the NDP opposition party, who praised the project’s proponents for working with aboriginal First Nations as well as provide jobs and training to local people.

“BC’s New Democrats are supportive of Woodfibre LNG and the jobs and economic activity it will bring to our province.”