TransCanada encouraged by interest in project

Associated Press Modified: September 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm •  Published: September 21, 2012

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — TransCanada Corp., the company that holds an exclusive license to build a major natural gas pipeline in Alaska, has been encouraged by results of a recent market solicitation, a spokesman said Friday.

TransCanada has received interest from potential shippers and "major players from a broad range of industry sectors and geographic locations," including North America and Asia, Shawn Howard said in a statement.

The statement didn't indicate if preference was shown for a project that would serve North America markets, or for one that would allow for liquefied natural gas exports overseas.

Howard declined to name the shippers, citing confidentiality.

The non-binding solicitation ended Sept. 14, and the expressions of interest are just that: not firm commitments to any one project. TransCanada is required by terms of its agreement with the state to gauge market interest every two years.

In 2010, the company held an "open season," which was a three-month period of courting gas producers in an effort to secure shipping agreements. The company proposed two options: a pipeline that would run from the North Slope into Canada and serve North America markets and one that would lead to a liquefied natural gas facility that could export fuel by ship.

That process didn't yield any publicly announced shipping commitments for gas, causing Gov. Sean Parnell last year to urge the North Slope's three major players — Exxon Mobil Corp., BP PLC and ConocoPhillips — to coalesce behind a project that would allow for liquefied natural gas exports to the Pacific Rim if the market had indeed shifted from the Lower 48.

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