TransCanada chases B.C. market
TransCanada, buoyed by producer response to a non-binding open season, is reaching for control of gas deliveries from the fast-emerging British Columbia shale region.
Given just 10 days to file submissions, shippers made requests for more than 1 billion cubic feet per day of pipeline capacity by 2012 from both the Horn River and Montney-Groundbirch areas.
TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Hal Kvisle said that “based on these expressions of interest, we expect to complete a binding open season in the next few months.”
Although the bidders were not identified, their response further bolstered the view that northeastern British Columbia is shaping up as one of the hottest prospects in North America that could see the province challenging Alberta’s supremacy as Canada’s top gas producing province.
TransCanada officials had previously estimated the feeder pipelines from B.C. could cost more than C$100 million based on 1 bcf per day from Horn River and 500 million-1 bcf per day from Montney.
The gas would be delivered to TransCanada’s Alberta network, which is currently operating at 300 million-500 million cubic feet per day below capacity.
Nova NEB application linkedThe company’s entry into B.C. is linked to its June application to the National Energy Board to establish federal jurisdiction over its Nova Gas Transmission system in Alberta (which is regulated by the Alberta Utilities Commission), thus enabling it to operate across provincial boundaries.
That would in turn provide integrated gas services to B.C. and Alberta and eventually to northern gas producers, including Alaska and Canada’s territorial governments.
The NEB will hold a hearing in November to decide whether it has jurisdiction to approve the application.
Steve Clark, a Canadian pipelines vice president at TransCanada, said the NEB process could last 18 months, at which point the company will be ready to file proposals for specific projects.
He said there is a “very high level” of interest among B.C. producers to ship their gas to the Alberta hub, which then fans out to the major Canadian and U.S. markets.
Meanwhile, Spectra Energy, which operates the main north-south gas transmission pipeline in B.C., has three plans in the works to handle up to 261 million cubic feet per day of volumes from northeastern B.C.