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An industry-sponsored fund designed to help develop clean technology using Canadian natural gas is launching a $3-million call for project proposals.

The Natural Gas Innovation Fund says the call for applications, with a February deadline, is being made possible by the addition of seven western Canadian natural gas producers to a membership previously made up of six natural gas utilities.

The new members include the Canadian branches of two partners in the proposed $40-billion West Coast LNG Canada project: Royal Dutch Shell and Petronas; along with Canada's largest natural gas producer, Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

Fund managing director John Adams says the new program will target projects in the upstream or producing part of the industry, making up to $1 million available per project to cover as much as 25 per cent of its eligible expenses.

Adams says the fund, created by the Canadian Gas Association, has over the past two years issued about $9 million to projects focused on energy efficiency.

The fund is also announcing a partnership with federal, Alberta and British Columbia governments to collaborate and consider co-funding successful applicants with projects that deliver significant greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The upstream fund members were introduced at an event at the Calgary Petroleum Club on Wednesday.

"As a producer of natural gas, we’re big believers in the need for affordable, clean energy for all people worldwide," said CEO Mark Fitzgerald of Petronas Energy Canada Ltd. in a statement.

"In an age where technology has become the catalyst for exponential advancements in our industry, we’re excited to be involved in the Natural Gas Innovation Fund which pursues diversity of thought and provides a platform for sharing solutions.”

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Here in British Columbia we have a Premier who wants us to get off gas. Yes, he wants those of us who converted to return to a very expensive hydro in order for him to make his carbon mathematics work. With a burgeoning LNG/Fracking industry and future sales to world markets taxpayers are expected to forgo their own natural gas savings. This also helps him justify the need for the Site C dam.