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As the U.S. Senate considers a plan to subsidize production of natural gas vehicles, B.C.’s industry is ramping up to bring huge new reserves to market.

Calgary-based EnCana Corporation has submitted its environmental assessment application for the Cabin gas plant 60 kilometres north of Fort Nelson.

If approved, the plant would process gas from the Horn River shale formation, where eight companies have bet heavily on new drilling techniques and rising demand. The application to B.C.’s Environment Assessment Office includes a network of pipelines to collect and process gas to remove traces of hydrogen sulphide.

EnCana and its partners are also considering equipment to capture carbon dioxide, piping it to an oilfield in Alberta and into local underground storage if it is financially feasible. The U.S. vehicle conversion proposal focuses on transport trucks as well as passenger cars, aimed at energy security as much as reducing pollution.

The Horn River and Montney shale reserves have shifted the focus of gas development in Western Canada, as older conventional fields in Alberta have become more costly.

The next sale of oil and gas land rights in Northeast BC is scheduled for Wednesday.

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