TransCanada Corp. subsidiary NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. filed an application last Wednesday with the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board to build a major expansion of the northern section of the Alberta pipeline system.

NOVA Gas proposes to build a 186-mile, 42-inch diameter natural gas pipeline and install 26 MW of additional compression and associated facilities on the northern part of the Alberta system at an estimated cost of C$983 million (US$994.5 million). The Alberta system is the largest part of the TransCanada network at 14,601 miles and a throughput of 11.1 Bcf/d in 2006, the Calgary, AB-based company said.

The first segment of the expansion is targeted for completion in April 2009, and the second segment is expected to be completed and in service in April 2010, according to TransCanada.

The North Central Corridor Pipeline Project would connect the northwest portion of the Alberta system at the existing Meikle River compressor station to the northeastern portion of the system at the existing Woodenhouse compressor station, as well as add 26 MW of compression at the existing Meikle River compressor station.

The proposed expansion is intended to address increasing gas supply in northwestern Alberta, declining gas supply in northeastern Alberta, growing intra-Alberta markets resulting largely from greater oilsands development and reduced delivery capability to interconnecting pipelines at the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, according to TransCanada.

"The North Central Corridor is the most cost-effective facility to accommodate evolving gas supply and market dynamics both within and outside Alberta," said TransCanada CEO Hal Kvisle.

TransCanada's pipeline network consists of 36,500 miles of lines that tap into virtually every major natural gas supply basin in North America.

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