A revival is in the works for decades-old hopes to fill in themissing link in the Canadian natural gas pipeline grid byconnecting the Atlantic region with the rest of the country.

The revival surfaced when New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lordpaid a call on counterpart Lucien Bouchard in Quebec City. Lordpredicted an announcement within weeks on collaboration between theprovincial governments on planning a connection.

The new version of the idea is a link between the Trans Quebec& Maritimes and Maritimes & Northeast systems. TQ&Mends about 120 miles southeast of Quebec City, while M&NEtraverses New Brunswick on its way to New England from the SableOffshore Energy Project. The industry partners in TQ&M, GazMetropolitain and TransCanada PipeLines, added only that the idearemains a business concept they will not forget. There are nopromises about when or how a project will be put together.

Despite vigorous support by the Quebec government TQ&Mfailed in its latest effort to build the missing link when it wasproposed as a rival to M&NE for transporting SOEP production.

A complete East-West Canadian gas pipeline grid has been onindustry and government drawing boards since the 1970s, when it wasproposed as an energy security measure. While governments haveregularly promoted the idea, pipeline companies have steered clearof building it because Atlantic Canadian markets remain too smallto justify a project on their own. The Canadian provincialpoliticians say they hope a connection could be built in five orsix years. The construction of M&NE narrows the missing link toabout 250 miles (as the crow flies) between Riviere du Loup ineastern Quebec and Moncton in southern New Brunswick.

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