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Russian-Canadian energy deals possibly at risk

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper allowed on Tuesday for the possibility of commercial natural gas deals with Russia being put at risk by Russia’s military actions in neighboring Georgia.

Asked at a news conference if such deals could be at risk, Harper said: “We’re examining obviously all aspects of our relationship. We’re obviously focusing on aspects that have to with the strategic and military situation, but we will of course review everything.”

In May, Russia’s Gazprom, the world’s largest natural gas company, announced it was joining Enbridge Inc, Gaz Metro and Gaz de France in developing an C$840 million ($792 million) liquefied natural gas project in Quebec. The project is first North American investment and the sole major entry into the Canadian energy industry by a Russian firm.

Jennifer Varey, an Enbridge spokeswoman, declined to comment on the prime minister’s remarks. “It’s not something we want to speculate on at this point in time,” she said. The project would see Gazprom take a unspecified stake in the Rabaska LNG terminal on the St. Lawrence River at Levis, across from Quebec City.

The 500 million cubic feet of gas a day from the plant would supply the Quebec and Ontario markets. The project is scheduled to go ahead in 2014, coinciding with the planned start of a liquefaction plant at Russia’s Shtokman natural gas field, located in the Barents Sea 450 km (280 miles) northeast of Murmansk. The partners have yet to sign a formal agreement for the project. Varey said Enbridge expects to finalize the terms by the end of the year. (Reuters)