Some of the world’s largest energy companies are racing to transform backwaters like this hamlet of 544 people into boomtowns.
The energy giants are proposing half a trillion dollars in projects to export vast new finds of North American natural gas. Western Canada and the U.S. Gulf Coast are competing to see which region receives the lion’s share of the investment.
Port Edward has been shrinking since the canneries and pulp mills began shutting decades ago. But it has a deep-water port that could someday handle the huge ships that carry liquefied natural gas. And Malaysia’s state-owned energy giant, Petroliam Nasional Bhd., or Petronas, says it is prepared to spend $20 billion on a terminal, pipeline and other infrastructure here.
A drilling revolution in the U.S. and Canada has unlocked a glut of natural-gas reserves across the continent. That has sent prices tumbling—a boon for consumers and industrial users. But it has also sent energy companies scrambling for a way to profit by sending the cheap gas to Asia, where demand and prices are high.