By Nia Williams
(Reuters) -The Canadian government is in discussion with the companies behind two proposed east coast liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities to see how it can speed up the projects and help boost supply to Europe, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told Reuters on Friday.
Wilkinson said the government was looking at Spanish company Repsol's LNG facility in New Brunswick and the Goldboro LNG facility in Nova Scotia proposed by Pieridae Energy.
Ottawa has held talks with European countries about ways to boost energy exports to the continent after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February upended oil and gas supplies.
However, Canada, the world's sixth-largest natural gas producer, does not have any east coast LNG facilities and only one under construction on its west coast.
"We are looking at Goldboro and Repsol's projects and discussing these with the proponents and with German and European counterparts," Wilkinson said in an interview.
"We are looking at whether there are things we can do to expedite one or more of the projects in a manner that's consistent with environmental considerations and a long-term transition to a lower-carbon future."
Pieridae is proposing a 2.4 megatonne per annum floating export facility.
Pieridae spokesman James Millar confirmed the company has had discussions with the government about an LNG export facility.
"Pieridae has a solution that would allow Canada to take a leadership role in supplying much needed natural gas overseas to help solve this issue. We would do this through a net zero emissions LNG export facility that is actionable today," Millar said in an email.
Repsol already operates an LNG import facility in Saint John, and acquired 100% ownership of the project last year. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Wilkinson said for the projects to go ahead they would "almost certainly" have to use clean electricity rather than natural gas in the liquefaction process, and have the ability to eventually transition to exporting hydrogen.
He added that the C$10 billion Énergie Saguenay LNG project, which both the Quebec and federal governments rejected on environmental grounds, was unlikely to be revived.
(Reporting by Nia WilliamsEditing by Denny Thomas, Leslie Adler and Marguerita Choy)