TransCanada (TSX:TRP) (NYSE:TRP) launched a binding Open Season to obtain firm commitments from interested parties for the Bakken Marketlink Project, which would provide crude oil transportation service from Baker, Montana to Cushing, Oklahoma and to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The proposed Bakken Marketlink Project would provide the first direct link between the prolific Bakken crude oil producing region in the Williston Basin and key U.S. markets near Cushing, Oklahoma and the U.S. Gulf Coast, the largest refining market in North America. The project would provide Bakken producers with an alternative and competitive market access solution, using pipeline facilities that form part of TransCanada's proposed Keystone Gulf Coast Expansion Project.
The Open Season follows a successful expression of interest phase, which was conducted earlier in 2010, and subsequent discussions with prospective shippers in the Bakken producing region.
The proposed TransCanada Keystone Pipeline system's proximity to the key Bakken crude oil producing regions within the Williston Basin uniquely positions TransCanada to provide an effective market access alternative for Bakken production. Significant increases in Bakken crude oil production in recent years have resulted in production exceeding available exit pipeline capacity from the region. The Bakken Marketlink Project is expected to help relieve exit pipeline capacity constraints and support expected growth from this key U.S producing region.
Following the completion of a successful Open Season, TransCanada intends to proceed with the necessary regulatory applications for approvals to construct and operate the required facilities which are estimated to cost approximately US$ 140 Million. The Bakken Marketlink Project is expected to commence providing service in the first quarter of 2013.
Parties who are interested in obtaining versions of the associated detailed Notice of Open Season, the draft Tariff and Transportation Service and Throughput Agreement (TSA) may execute a Confidentiality Agreement with TransCanada PipeLines Limited. The detailed Notice of Open Season, draft Tariff and TSA are confidential and shall not be disclosed to any other part except in strict accordance with the provisions of the Confidentiality Agreement.
During the Open Season period, which expires at noon (Mountain Time) November 10, 2010, interested parties may submit binding bids for transportation capacity of crude oil from Baker, Montana to Cushing, Oklahoma or Nederland, Texas.