(Adds comments from chief executive)
Nov 28 (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp's talks with shippers for its Keystone XL pipeline have been encouraging in the last weeks, and the company expects to eventually rally enough commercial support, Chief Executive Russ Girling said on Tuesday.
The company is expected to make a final investment decision on the $8 billion Alberta-Nebraska pipeline by December, taking into account commercial support and regulatory approval from the state of Nebraska.
"Over the last few weeks, discussions with our customers have continued, and we're very encouraged with the progress," Girling told investors at an event in Toronto.
The Calgary, Alberta-based company expects to "conclude sufficient binding shipping commitments to advance the project," he said, adding it was still evaluating last week's decision from the state of Nebraska.
The state had approved the project, which was cleared federally by U.S. President Donald Trump this year, but denied TransCanada's preferred route
Nebraska's decision had cleared the last major regulatory hurdle, but would push up construction costs. It also opened the door to potential delays and emboldened activists who said they would try to kill the project through protests.
In a statement before the Toronto event, TransCanada said it expected comparable earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to grow at an average annual rate of about 10 percent through 2020.
TransCanada said it expects its annual dividend to grow at the top end of its previously estimated range of 8-10 percent through 2020.
The company said on Monday it would restart the Keystone crude oil pipeline, which is separate from Keystone XL, at reduced pressure on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after closing the line after it leaked 5,000 barrels of crude in rural South Dakota.
The company did not provide any details on Tuesday on the potential impact of the pipeline closure. (Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha in Bengaluru and Ethan Lou in Calgary; Editing by Maju Samuel)