TransCanada Corporation (TSX:TRP) (NYSE:TRP) (TransCanada) today announced its ANR Pipeline system has secured almost 2.0 billion cubic feet a day (Bcf/d) of firm natural gas transportation commitments on its Southeast Main Line (SEML) at maximum rates for an average term of 23 years. Approximately 1.25 Bcf/d will commence in 2014, with the remaining volume commencing in 2015.
"This successful open season underscores the value of existing long haul gas pipelines. ANR continues to be a critical piece of natural gas infrastructure that enables growing U.S. production to access both existing continental and growing export markets, facilitating economic development, job creation and enhancing U.S. energy security and independence," said Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer. "Essentially one hundred per cent of the existing firm capacity on the ANR Southeast Main Line system has now been subscribed and TransCanada is reviewing several options for further expansion to accommodate additional volumes."
Through a series of open seasons and working directly with customers, ANR secured contracts on available capacity on the SEML to move Utica and Marcellus shale gas to points north and south on the system. This includes most recently securing 600 million cubic feet a day (MMcf/d) as part of a reversal project on the SEML system. This project will enhance existing bi-directional flow capability that will allow more natural gas to move south to the Gulf Coast, where markets are experiencing a resurgence of natural gas demand for industrial use, as well as significant new demand related to natural gas exports from recently approved liquefaction terminals.
For the past year, shippers have shown support for projects developed by ANR, including the reversal of the Lebanon Lateral in western Ohio, the planned addition of compression at Sulphur Springs and the expansion of the interconnect with REX at Shelbyville.
Capital costs associated with the system expansions required to bring the additional capacity to market are currently estimated to be about $100 million.
ANR is also assessing further demand from our customers to transport natural gas from the Utica formation, which could result in incremental opportunities to enhance and expand the system. ANR is one of the few pipelines whose existing footprint provides key market access both to the upper Midwest (Michigan, Dawn via Great Lakes Gas Transmission, Chicago and Wisconsin), as well as the U.S. Gulf Coast.
"These successful projects confirm our view that our Southeast Main Line will continue to be a highly valued route to the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Ontario markets that ANR serves," Girling added. "ANR will continue to be an attractive transportation option due to its strategic footprint, interconnections, on-system storage and access to high demand markets, which positions it very favorably in providing new services to Utica producers and existing ANR customers looking to add Utica and Marcellus gas to their portfolios."