The agreement with the Government of British Columbia, represented by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, grants Nexen and its joint venture partners INPEX and JGC, the exclusive right to pursue long-term access to Crown land at Grassy Point.

CNOOC CEO Li Fanrong said, "LNG export is the most attractive option for maximizing the value of our Canadian shale gas business."

"With robust financial capacity, a track record of efficient, innovative and responsible development and significant LNG expertise, Nexen and our joint venture partners are well positioned to pursue this opportunity," Fanrong added.

In addition to assessing the suitability of the Grassy Point site, the decision to proceed with LNG development is subject to a variety of internal and external approvals.