While Keystone XL hangs in the balance, TransCanada Corporation announced yesterday that it will move forward with a $2.4 billion expansion of its NGTL System effectively connecting incremental supply and expand basin export capacity by one billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (Bcf/d) at the interconnection with its Canadian Mainline.

This supplements NGTL’s current ongoing substantial capital expansion program, bringing the total near-term NGTL growth commitment to approximately $7.2 billion.

NGTL recently completed an open season for existing and export capacity at the Empress/McNeill Export Delivery Point that was oversubscribed, and shippers have executed binding agreements for 1.0 Bcf/d of expansion capacity for firm service that will commence in November 2020 and April 2021.

The expansion program that will include approximately 375 kilometres of large diameter pipeline, compression facilities, meter stations and other associated facilities while the average of the contract terms awarded for the expansion capacity is 28.6 years.

“The successful open season shows strong industry support to significantly expand transmission capacity out of the basin and improve market connectivity for Canadian natural gas production,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer.

“We continue to work diligently with industry to facilitate economic access for their natural gas to key export markets, including access to Eastern Canada and the U.S. Northeast through TransCanada’s Canadian Mainline and downstream systems.”

NGTL anticipates filing a project description with the National Energy Board by the second quarter of 2018 to initiate the regulatory review process.

Subject to regulatory approvals, it expects construction will begin in 2019.