Bison Pipeline Begins Moving Natural Gas Out Of Rockies

March 2011, Vol. 238 No. 3

TransCanada Corporation’s Bison Pipeline, constructed by Michels Pipeline Construction and Price Gregory International, became operational Jan. 14, 2011.

The 303-mile, 30-inch-diameter interstate pipeline has an initial capacity of 407 MMcf/d, all of which is currently under long-term contract. With additional compression, the pipeline is expandable to 1 Bcfd.

Bison begins in northeastern Wyoming and travels northeast through Montana and North Dakota before connecting with Northern Border Pipeline in North Dakota. Natural gas transported on Bison will reach Midwest markets via Northern Border, a pipeline partially owned indirectly through TransCanada's interest in TC PipeLines, LP. Bison is TransCanada's first pipeline to access natural gas produced in the U.S. Rocky Mountain region.

"The Rockies was one of the last major North American producing basins that we weren't connected to," said Russ Girling, TransCanada president and chief executive officer. "Bison provides new options both to producers in the Powder River Basin and to consumers in the Midwest.”

“Connecting to Northern Border provides a lower-cost overall competitive solution for Bison's customers, and it adds value to an existing asset by strengthening its contract profile and diversifying its gas supply mix," Girling added.

With Bison operational, TransCanada has put into service six major projects in the last ten months. The initial phase of the Keystone Oil Pipeline began commercial operation; North Central Corridor and Groundbirch pipelines began shipping natural gas through TransCanada's Alberta System in 2010; Maine's largest wind project - Kibby Wind - became fully operational in late October; and the Halton Hills Generating Station in Ontario began producing power in the fall as well.

TransCanada will continue bringing large-scale projects into service in the coming months, including the Keystone Cushing extension, the Guadalajara natural gas pipeline in Mexico and the Coolidge Generating Station in Arizona.

Collectively, these projects are expected to generate approximately $1 billion of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to TransCanada in 2011.