TransCanada pushes for changes to NEB decision on Mainline tolls

CALGARY – TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) said Wednesday it is challenging aspects of a National Energy Board decision on how the company charges customers to ship natural gas across the country on its Canadian Mainline.

In late March, the board released its 257-page decision, in which it set the multi-year fixed transportation toll from the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary to southern Ontario at $1.42 per gigajoule.

TransCanada wants that increased to $1.52 gigajoule — still a big drop from the tolls the company has charged since 2011.

Among other things, TransCanada also wants the NEB to implement its decision in November, rather than June, when natural gas is in lower demand.

“Although we don’t agree with the decision, we are trying to work within it,” said CEO Russ Girling in a release.

“Our review and variance application will seek change of certain elements that will allow us to work within the decision rather than trying to undo the decision.”

The Canadian Mainline has been running part-empty for some time, as Western Canadian gas competes with emerging sources.

The NEB said it can’t allow mainline tolls to continue to rise in response to lower throughput on the Mainline.

The board said it approved tolls that are competitive and enable TransCanada to recover its costs, while providing certainty and stability its customers.

TransCanada has a proposal in the works to convert part of the natural gas mainline to oil service, so that crude from Western Canada can flow to refineries in Quebec and the Maritimes, and perhaps be exported off the West Coast.