Canada is well positioned to help meet the growing market demands for liquified natural gas, Canadian Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said. "World energy demand is on the rise, and Canada has the unprecedented energy supply to meet that demand," he said in a statement. Rickford announced Wednesday the government approved four long-term liquified-natural gas export licenses for projects along the country's West Coast. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has worked to diversify an economy that relies almost exclusively on the United States for oil and natural gas exports. "Opening new markets for our energy products supports our government's top priority: creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians," Rickford said. Rickford said LNG from Canada's West Coast can get to Asian markets in less than two weeks, compared with the month it takes a tanker to leave from export terminals in the Gulf of Mexico. The four export licenses combined will allow for the export of up to 73.4 million tons of LNG per year.