UPDATE 3-TransCanada seeks pipe approval linked to Petronas LNG terminal
(Adds comment from company involved in Pacific NorthWest, comment from TransCanada)
By Ethan Lou
CALGARY, Alberta, March 20 (Reuters) - Transcanada Corp has secured shippers' commitment for a pipeline associated with Malaysian state-owned oil company Petronas' pending Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in western Canada and targets 2018 for construction, the company said on Monday.
Government construction approval will allow the company to start building most of the North Montney Mainline before majority owner Petroliam Nasional Bhd, or Petronas, decides whether to commit to the project, TransCanada said in a statement.
The pipeline, however, is independent of Pacific NorthWest and "should not be interpreted as changing any aspect of the decision process," spokesman Shawn Howard said in a statement.
North Montney was to provide gas to Pacific NorthWest, but it also connects to existing systems to serve a wide range of markets.
"This includes deliveries to the oil sands, local distribution companies, eastern Canada, the U.S. Midwest or to California," Howard said.
Canadian gas producers have been increasingly squeezed from the lucrative eastern market by U.S. rivals, which have lower transportation costs, and have been looking for growth in the Asian market through LNG exports.
But while the Canadian government has green-lit the C$36 billion ($27.25 billion) Pacific NorthWest project in northern British Columbia, Petronas has put off a decision on whether to proceed with it. Continued...