Canadians Approve TransCanada Pipe Lowball Plan to Compete with M-U

Looks like begging works. TransCanada, one of Canada’s leading midstream/pipeline companies, cooked up a deal last year to pipe natural gas from Canada’s West Coast to the East Coast in order to fend off cheap supplies of Marcellus/Utica gas that will flow into Canada when/if the NEXUS and Rover pipelines get built (see TransCanada Pipe Drops Price 42% to Compete with Marcellus/Utica). TransCanada dropped their pipeline price to lure drillers by (theoretically) making it less expensive to get gas from Western Canada, some 2,400 miles away, than from the Marcellus, just 400 miles away. The original open season last year was a bust because TransCanada insists on a 10-year commitment (see TransCanada Plan to Lowball M-U Gas Using Canada Pipeline a Bust). TransCanada revived their plan in February. Although it looked almost like the same deal all over again with the same 10-year term and about the same price, TransCanada dropped a minimum amount to be shipped and is letting shippers opt out after five years under certain conditions. The changes worked (see TransCanada Says Plan to Lowball M-U Gas Worked, Shippers Sign Up). The plan needs a bevy of regulatory approvals, the main one being the Canadian National Energy Board (NEB). In hearings before the NEB two weeks ago, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers pleaded their case that the plan get approved (see Canadian Drillers Beg NEB to Approve Pipe Plan to Compete with M-U). Without it, western Canadian gas simply can’t compete with cheap, abundant Marcellus/Utica Shale gas flowing north. In somewhat dramatic terms, Canadian drillers claimed the “future of western Canada’s natural gas industry could depend on pipeline company TransCanada winning regulatory approval” of their lowball plan. The NEB bought it, and has just approved the lower rates…

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