Thursday, February 25, 2010

U.S. gas producers considering pipeline exports to Ontario market

OTTAWA - Canadian pipeline companies are considering requests from U.S. producers to reverse the flow of their natural gas export lines to bring natural gas from the Marcellus Shale in the U.S. into Ontario, displacing some Alberta suppliers who have dominated the Central Canadian market for half a century.
TransCanada Corp. and Chatham, Ont.-based Union Gas Ltd. have issued “open season” calls to determine the interest of Marcellus producers in supplying natural gas to the Ontario market from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
The companies, together with New York-based Empire Pipeline, would use existing pipelines that now move Western Canadian gas to Southern Ontario and the U.S. Northeast.
“The Marcellus shale is a game changer in terms of our markets and how we serve them,” said Andrea Stass, spokeswoman for Union Gas, a subsidiary of U.S. giant Spectra Energy Corp.
Union Gas's so-called “open season” will gauge interest among shippers to move gas from the border at the Niagara River, through a TransCanada line and then westward to its Dawn hub near Sarnia, where Union has major natural gas storage facilities.
TransCanada vice-president Steve Pohlod said the company is responding to requests from Marcellus producers that want to supply the Ontario market. But, he added, it is too early to say whether there is enough interest to justify reconfiguring the export pipeline.

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