HOUSTON, June 20 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp is seeking a license to export 30 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year to Asian markets from the coast of British Columbia, according to a regulatory filing in Canada.
Exxon and other U.S. energy companies are looking to exports of higher-margin LNG as a means of profiting from North America's vast supplies of shale gas.
Exxon and its majority-owned Imperial Oil Ltd, propose developing a liquefaction terminal that would require up to six separate processing units as well as storage and loading facilities that would be sited around Kitimat and Prince Rupert, according to the application filed with the National Energy Board on Wednesday.
The project is one of several LNG export plants proposed for British Columbia's Pacific Coast, including facilities planned by Chevron Corp, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Malaysia Petronas
Natural gas for the project would primarily come from Canadian fields where Exxon and Imperial hold acreage, but other North American shale basins could also be a source of supply, the companies said.
The companies' export license application is a preliminary step in the process and does not imply a commitment to build a facility, said a spokesman for Imperial.
First exports are targeted for 2021 to 2023, according to the filing.
Exxon has LNG projects in operation or in development in Papua New Guinea, Qatar and Australia and on the U.S. Gulf Coast.