Negotiations between TransCanada and Alaska North Slope are anticipated to speed up over the next 18 months as the pipeline company tries to sign up shippers on its proposed $26 billion (U.S.) natural gas pipeline. TransCanada expects to be granted a licence from the state of Alaska in the near future. TransCanada stated that discussions with the existing North Slope producers (ConocoPhillips, BP and ExxonMobil) is the most important step in moving the project forward. TransCanada is also currently in the process of obtaining its regulatory permits from FERC for the Alaska section of the pipeline and the Northern Pipeline Agency for the portion of the Pipeline going through the Yukon and northeastern British Columbia.