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TransCanada PipeLines Ltd. said Wednesday it has joined up with U.S.-based National Fuel Gas Co. to build a cross-border natural-gas pipeline that will run between Ontario and Pennsylvania at a cost of between $350-million (U.S.) and $400-million.

The pipeline will be called Northwinds Pipeline and is designed to bring new natural gas supplies to markets along the east coast. The line will run 346 kilometres from Dawn, Ont. - near Sarnia - to the Ellisburg-Leidy area of Pennsylvania.

The initial capacity of the pipeline is 500 million cubic feet of natural gas a day.

"Northwinds Pipeline is tailored to meet the needs of the mid-Atlantic and New England markets, which are among the fastest-growing markets on the continent," Hal Kvisle, TransCanada's chief executive, said.

"This project will strongly enhance TransCanada's existing and proposed natural gas transportation systems, from the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin to Eastern Canada to the northeastern United States."

Construction on the line is expected to take between 16 and 20 months. It is expected to be in service by late 2004, the companies said.

Northwinds Pipeline, the two companies said, will allow markets in the United States to take advantage of the growing natural gas supply available at the natural gas market hub located in Dawn. Right now, more than 3.5 billion cubic feet per day of pipeline capacity and over 870 billion cubic feet of storage capacity are fed into that regional hub.

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