TransCanada 'cautiously optimistic' after Nebraska decision: Alberta premier

FILE PHOTO - Alberta Premier Rachel Notley addresses supporters during her annual state of the province address in Calgary, Alberta, October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Todd Korol

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp is “cautiously optimistic” about prospects for construction of its Keystone XL pipeline even after the state of Nebraska denied the company’s preferred route, the leader of the oil-producing province of Alberta said on Wednesday.

The comments by Premier Rachel Notley, whose government spoke with TransCanada representatives after the decision, were the first indication of the company’s stance on Monday’s announcement from the Nebraska Public Service Commission. TransCanada has so far said only that it will evaluate the decision.

A spokesman for TransCanada, which has been trying to advance the $8 billion Alberta-Nebraska pipeline for nearly a decade, said the company took note of Notley’s comments and reiterated that it will review the decision.

During a conference call with media, Notley said: “They are cautiously optimistic. The new route was not an entire surprise to them.”

The Nebraska commission on Monday approved the pipeline, but rejected the company’s preferred route in favor of a more costly alternative that would add 5 miles (8 km) of pipeline, along with an additional pumping station and related transmission lines.

U.S. federal authorities and Nebraska officials have said it was unclear if the modified route required the company to apply for any additional permits.

Shareholders have said they want TransCanada to push ahead with the pipeline expansion.

Reporting by Ethan Lou; Editing by David Gregorio and Phil Berlowitz