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Canada’s largest pipeline companies TC Energy and Enbridge Inc see opportunities in their extensive natural gas businesses as a transition to cleaner energy evolves, their chief executives said on Wednesday.

The two Calgary-based companies are among North America’s largest energy infrastructure firms, and the majority of their business is focused on storing and transporting fossil fuels.

TC Energy has the biggest natural gas pipeline system in North America, and CEO François Poirier said the company sees plenty of opportunities to allocate capital to that business in the form of organic bolt-on projects.

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Storage and transportation assets will be key as the energy transition moves forward and new technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions like carbon capture and storage and hydrogen are developed, Poirier said at the online Scotiabank CAPP Energy Symposium.

“Transition can’t come fast enough from our perspective but we have to pace it appropriately. I believe natural gas and liquids will continue to play a prominent role in the energy economy for decades to come,” he said.

“I believe our existing assets will continue to be used and be useful for quite a long time and generate a tremendous amount of cash flow that we will be able to deploy into the energy transition.”

Enbridge CEO Al Monaco, speaking at the same conference, said he saw gas as the “great enabler” for the energy transition because it is a reliable source of power that can backstop renewables.

“It’s low-cost, abundant, it’s important in reducing utilization of coal, but it’s equally important in fostering renewables. You’ve got to be able to create baseload capability and it addresses the enormous intermittency challenges,” he said.

Both companies are also investing in clean energy projects, and looking into developing technology to transport hydrogen.

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