Canada regulator OKs TransCanada shale gas plan

Thu Mar 4, 2010 6:00pm EST
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Regulators on Thursday conditionally approved TransCanada Corp's plan for a C$200 million ($194 million) pipeline, the first federally regulated shale gas transport system in Western Canada.

The 77 km (48 mile) Groundbirch pipeline would carry gas to TransCanada's Alberta pipeline network from northeastern British Columbia's Montney formation.

Canada's National Energy Board said its approval carried 30 conditions, comprising such things as environmental protection and aboriginal consultation measures.

The region of British Columbia has become known as one of the continent's top sources of natural gas trapped in shale rock formations. The industry has improved drilling and recovery technology to the point where trillions of cubic feet of supply have become accessible.

($1=$1.03 Canadian)

(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; Editing by Frank McGurty)