By EDWARD WELSCH
CALGARY, Alberta -- TransCanada said Monday it will ask Alaska gas producers if they support a pipeline project that would send liquefied natural gas from the North Slope to buyers overseas.
The Calgary energy infrastructure company said it will hold a nonbinding public solicitation of interest between Aug. 31 and Sept. 14.
During that period, the area's major producers - ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips - will say whether they support the plan to build a pipeline and LNG export facility in southern Alaska, likely in the port city of Valdez, or a plan to ship it over land across a connection point near the border of British Columbia and Alberta.
TransCanada's Alaska natural gas pipeline project was initially planned as an over-land pipeline to ship North Slope gas to the continental US by 2020.
But the glut of natural gas from shale basins in the US has led Alaska Governor Sean Parnell to voice support for an alternative plan to super-cool the gas and ship it overseas to buyers in Asia.
Alaska's government in May gave TransCanada permission to start switching the plan to the LNG proposal.
The public solicitation will assess interest in both the LNG and over-land options. It's being conducted in accordance with state laws that require companies to assess the market interest in pipeline projects every two years after their first open season, in which gas producers bid for pipeline space.
Dow Jones Newswires