The initial 90-day open season of TransCanada Corp.’s Alaska pipeline project closed Friday. The company’s TC Alaska unit and partner ExxonMobil Corp. now will begin assessing and negotiating the issues and conditions that are incorporated within the bids received from potential shippers, the companies said.

TransCanada said it received bids from several companies interested in shipping gas on the massive pipeline project from the North Slope to Lower 48 markets. The companies’ names or volumes of gas they are interested in shipping were not disclosed.

“There are many milestones to mark the progress of this project, and today’s is a major one,” said Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell. “The market has determined Alaska natural gas is worth pursuing. We have many more milestones to go, and plenty of commercial and regulatory hurdles to clear, but it is a positive sign that major players have placed bids for significant volumes of capacity on a pipeline to market.”

TransCanada won the state concession to construct the line under the state’s Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) (see Daily GPI, May 3). A competing project, called Denali and sponsored by subsidiaries of BP plc and ConocoPhillips, began 90-day open seasons in the United States and Canada early last month (see Daily GPI, July 7).

Parnell pointed out that the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. continues to work on a bullet line from the North Slope to Southcentral Alaska to meet in-state natural gas needs (see Daily GPI, April 6 2009).

“…[W]e have not put all of our eggs in one basket,” Parnell said. “The Alaska Gasline Development Corp. will continue its work to prepare a project package for the bullet line. Letters of interest from buyers and sellers of gas and from pipeline construction companies will be solicited, as a financing plan is assembled during the next year.”

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