TransCanada offers 42 pct gas pipeline toll cut on long-term contracts
By Nia Williams
CALGARY, Alberta Aug 19 (Reuters) - Pipeline company TransCanada Corp is offering tolls as low as 82 Canadian cents per gigajoule on its natural gas mainline from western Canada if enough producers sign up to long-term contracts, a company executive said on Friday.
Stephen Clark, TransCanada's senior vice president for Canadian natural gas pipelines, said cheaper tolls are crucial if companies in areas like the Montney and Duvernay shale plays are to compete with U.S. gas producers in eastern markets.
The new toll would be a 42 percent cut from the current shipping price of roughly C$1.41 a gigajoule to go from Alberta and British Columbia to markets in Ontario, and depends on customers signing up to 10-year contracts to ship at least two petajoules of natural gas in total on the line.
Clark said the boom in U.S. shale, in particular the Marcellus play in Appalachia, meant more natural gas was flooding into the southern Ontario market and displacing traditional western Canadian supply.
While the remote Montney and Duvernay gas plays can compete with U.S. shale on cost of production, their greater distance from market increases delivery costs and the price of western Canadian gas in Ontario.
"If that market starts to acquire gas from other basins, they will essentially forgo western Canadian supply," Clark said. "Part of the reason we are doing this is we see a supply overhang in western Canada if we don't retain those markets."
TransCanada has been in talks with producers for the last three or four months and is hoping to launch an open season to formally gauge interest in the new tolling system in September.
However, Clark said the company would need to see sufficient interest from shippers in long-term contracts to go ahead with the open season. Continued...