Few would argue against points such as these, and in a recent article published by The Globe and Mail, Girling provided food for thought by noting that his company's pipeline-building plans in BC alone are now worth in excess of $10 billion.

“This is in the sweet spot of our backyard in terms of an opportunity to grow earnings beyond the 2015 time frame,” he said.

An "unexpected positive development”

It seems the market is echoing Girling's statement, with Desjardins Securities analyst Pierre Lacroix describing TransCanada's latest announcement as an “unexpected positive development.”

“The announcement further demonstrates (TransCanada's) ongoing efforts to secure earnings growth beyond Keystone XL in the latter half of this decade,” he wrote in a note to clients, according to The Huffington Post Canada.

Investors will also have noted that despite issues related to controversial oil pipelines, such as Enbridge's (TSX:ENB) Northern Gateway scheme, there seems to be a lot less resistance surrounding natural gas projects in the province. With TransCanada boasting a successful history of operating natural gas lines in Canada and the United States, and BC Premier Christy Clark touting the province's LNG industry as being on the same scale economically as Alberta's oil sands, the future looks bright for pipeline firms.

Progress and TransCanada expect to finalize definitive agreements in early 2013.

If approved, the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project and TransCanada's proposed Coastal GasLink Pipeline project to Kitimat could potentially add more than 1,400 kilometres to Western Canadian natural gas transmission systems. That will make TransCanada difficult for others to compete against, while also making it difficult for investors to ignore.

 

Securities Disclosure: I, Adam Currie, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Related reading: 

Pipeline Companies: An Overlooked Investment Opportunity

Progress Energy Takeover: Only the Beginning?

Natural Gas Acquisitions Favored Over Oil Sands Potential