TransCanada Corporation Is Much More Than Just Keystone XL

The Keystone XL rejection may be a blow to TransCanada Corporation’s (TSX:TRP)(NYSE:TRP) future growth, but there is much more to this company than Keystone XL.

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The rejection of TransCanada Corporation’s (TSX:TRP)(NYSE:TRP) 830,000 barrel per day Keystone XL pipeline sent TransCanada shares plunging. Investors are processing what the rejection means for TransCanada’s long-term growth prospects.

While the $8 billion project’s rejection will undoubtedly have an effect on TransCanada’s post-2018 growth (and therefore on the shares’ valuation), TransCanada made one thing clear during its recent Investor Day this month—the company is much more than Keystone XL.

In fact, Keystone represents only $8 billion of $48 billion in secured capital projects that the company plans to spend through to 2020. In addition, the company is continually announcing new projects; it announced new capital spending of over $1 billion this month alone, which demonstrates that the company has a solid platform for growth without Keystone XL.

Here are some examples of how TransCanada is leveraging its current footprint to provide an attractive growth profile despite Keystone’s rejection.

TransCanada has ample growth opportunity in natural gas

In the weeks following the Keystone XL rejection, TransCanada announced about $1 billion in new natural gas infrastructure spending. About $570 million of this spending is in the form of an expansion to TransCanada’s existing NGTL system in Alberta and B.C., which is the main transporter of natural gas supply in the region.

TransCanada signed 2.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of new natural gas transportation contracts, and these contracts require the expansion. It is important to note that this $570 million in spending is in addition to $7.5 billion in capital spending that is already planned for the NGTL system through to 2018.

In addition to NGTL expansions, TransCanada also has two massive pipelines planned to connect the NGTL system to proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities on the west coast of B.C. The $5 billion Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project will connect the NGTL system to the LNG facility in Prince Rupert currently proposed by Petronas.

TransCanada has received all of the required permits for this project, and the LNG facility has also received a conditional confirmation with only one outstanding condition remaining.

The other project—the $4.8 billion Coastal Gaslink project—will connect the same supply region to another LNG facility proposed by a Shell-led consortium of companies in Kitimat B.C. TransCanada has eight of 10 required permits for this pipeline.

Mexico is also proving to be a new growth frontier for TransCanada. TransCanada just won the rights to build a $500 million natural gas pipeline in Mexico in addition to the $1.4 billion it is currently investing. Mexico represents a unique opportunity for TransCanada because not only does Mexico require foreign investments, but it is also using more natural gas and projects are more easily approved than in Canada or the U.S.

TransCanada’s Energy East is still in play

While Keystone may have represented an $8 billion investment, TransCanada’s main project is ultimately Energy East, which is the $12 billion, 1.1 million b/d pipeline that will connect the oil sands to east coast refineries and the export market.

This project is more likely to obtain approval than Keystone XL. Energy East is the largest of the proposed export pipelines. The oil sands are estimated to require about 500,000 b/d of new pipeline capacity until 2020 and potentially another 500,000 to one million b/d before 2030.

Energy East is the most competitive solution to the long-term transportation needs of the oil sands and will give TransCanada a major edge over its competitors in terms of meeting demand for infrastructure after 2020 when it enters into service.

Energy East could also absorb much of the production coming online between now and 2020 that is being transported by rail due to insufficient pipeline access, and with both Keystone XL and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway looking increasingly unlikely, Energy East is all the more important.

With this in mind, the Keystone rejection is certainly a setback, but TransCanada is more than able to generate low-risk growth for its shareholders for years to come.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Adam Mancini has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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