(Adds TransCanada declines comment)
CALGARY, Alberta, March 2 (Reuters) - Canadian Natural Resources Ltd is likely interested in shipping natural gas under TransCanada’s new flat toll for its Mainline system, but it has not made a firm decision, Canadian Natural’s chief executive officer said.
“I think you will see us participate in the open season, but we’re still making that decision,” Steve Laut, the chief executive, said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday, referencing the process that TransCanada Corp started last week to gauge interest for the pipeline from western to central Canada.
TransCanada has said it plans to offer a flat toll on its Mainline system that takes natural gas to southern Ontario, three months after shippers balked at the previous varied toll structure, which they saw as too high.
Laut said Canadian Natural was still considering the costs of the new plan.
“We’re working together with TCPL,” Laut said, using the initials of a TransCanada subsidiary. “We’re very involved.”
TransCanada declined to comment.
TransCanada’s new rate is 77 Canadian cents per gigajoule for a 10-year term, instead of the previously offered range of between 75 and 82 Canadian cents . The open season is expected to close on March 9.
In Ontario, Canadian shippers face competition from eastern U.S. shale basins like the Marcellus and Utica. They have comparable production costs to Canada’s remote Montney and Duvernay gas plays in the west, but lower delivery costs.
Reporting by Ethan Lou in Calgary, Alberta; Editing by Bernard Orr and Leslie Adler