Imperial Oil Ltd. (“Imperial”) and its parent, Exxon Mobil Corp. (“Exxon”), are entering the race to export liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) from Canada’s west coast to markets in Asia. Speaking at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Oil & Gas Investment Symposium in Toronto on Monday, Imperial President and CEO Bruce March announced that Imperial and Exxon have begun planning for a LNG export business located in British Columbia.

The move comes on the heels of the $3.1 billion proposed acquisition by Imperial and Exxon of natural gas producer Celtic Exploration Ltd. (“Celtic”) and is a clear attempt to capitalize on the Celtic reserves as well as gas holdings they already own in Western Canada and in the Horn River shale gas play in British Columbia. Imperial and Exxon will be competing directly with a growing number of global players that have picked British Columbia’s coast to build export LNG businesses. Notably, a consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Malaysia’s Petronas which is working on a competing plan involving building an $11 billion LNG plant near Prince Rupert.