Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announced plans to export liquefied natural gas to Asia during the Liquefied Natural Gas Producer-Consumer Conference in Tokyo this week, CBC reports.

The major energy projects, involving five proposed plants on the West Coast which can produce nine billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas per day for exports, could cement Canada’s status as a rising “global energy leader”. The proposal also faces little opposition from politicians and environmental groups, a feat that could give the country a head start in the global race to Asian markets. Mr. Oliver is quoted as saying during the conference: “Canada is already the third-largest producer of natural gas in the world”. Mr. Oliver, along with business executives from AtlaGas, Encana, TransCanada Corporation, Shell Canada and Nexen, is set to visit Japan and South Korea seeking to tap markets there.

LNG producers are scrambling to Asia where demand and prices have become significantly higher than in North America. LNG in the US is traded at about one-sixth of the price in Japan. According to Yomiuri Shimbun, the Japanese government proposed a review of the “unbalanced” pricing system during the conference in Tokyo.