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Two large-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects on North America’s west coast took another step forward in their development on June 1, 2015.

The Alaska LNG Project was granted approval by the United States Department of Energy to export LNG to non-Free Trade Agreement countries, while the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project in British Columbia reached agreements with several First Nations tribes in regards to future development. TransCanada (ticker: TRP) is involved in both ventures, while supermajors like BP plc (ticker: BP), ConocoPhillips (ticker: COP) and ExxonMobil (ticker: XOM) are coordinating with Alaska LNG.

Alaska’s Market Opens Up

The Alaska LNG Project already holds the right to trade with Free Trade Agreement countries, so the latest approval truly opens up a global spectrum of customers to the companies involved in the project.

In a press release, Steve Butt, Alaska LNG senior project manager, said, “As with any large scale LNG project, access to as many markets as possible will improve the commercial viability of the proposed project.” Cheniere Energy’s (ticker: LNG) received the same approval for its Corpus Christi plant last month.

Alaska has endured difficult recent months with the commodity price downturn, but the companies involved believe the plant and its infrastructure will create approximately 1,000 full time jobs. The sprawling infrastructure will consist of an 800-mile, large diameter pipeline, up to eight compression stations and at least five take-off points for domestic delivery. The approved application calls for the export of up to 20 million metric tons of LNG annually for a 30-year period.

TransCanada, First Nations Shake Hands

TransCanada’s Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project in British Columbia announced agreements with three First Nations tribes as the international energy company continues its proposal to create a 560-mile natural gas pipeline across the Canadian province. Positive relationships have now been developed with a total of seven First Nation groups.

In a TransCanada press release, the respective chiefs of three tribes commended TRP on their commitment to the environment and contractual benefits to the nations. Another tribe made headlines a few months ago for refusing a $1 billion offer from Petronas to commence operations near a salmon habitat. In all, 17 First Nations hold territories in the vicinity of the proposed LNG project.

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