(Adds details on Kinder Morgan Canada, expected size of IPO)
By Nia Williams
CALGARY, Alberta, April 24 (Reuters) - U.S. pipeline company Kinder Morgan Inc said on Monday its Canadian unit filed a prospectus for an initial public offering of restricted voting shares, to help finance its C$7.4 billion ($5.48 billion) Trans Mountain expansion project.
Reuters reported in February that the company had begun talks with institutional investors to raise capital for the Trans Mountain project and was looking at either an IPO or joint venture.
"The preliminary filing represents an important step in securing the best opportunity for obtaining acceptable financing terms for the project," Kinder Morgan said in its submission to U.S. regulators. The company did not disclose the IPO size or timeline in the submission.
The company continued to pursue the parallel paths of an IPO or joint venture and the project remained on schedule to start construction later this year, a company spokesman said.
The Trans Mountain expansion will nearly triple the size of Kinder Morgan's existing pipeline and ship 890,000 barrels a day of crude from Edmonton, Alberta, to Barnaby, British Columbia. It was approved by the Canadian government last year despite opposition from environmental and aboriginal groups.
Kinder Morgan Canada's business consists of the Trans Mountain pipeline, the Purge Sound system, the Jet Fuel pipeline system, the Canadian portion of the Cochin pipeline system, the Vancouver Wharves terminal and the North 40 terminal.
It also includes Kinder Morgan's share of the Edmonton Rail Terminal, the Alberta Crude Terminal and the Base Line Terminal.
Sources, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said in February that Kinder Morgan had hired Toronto-Dominion Bank as an adviser. ($1 = 1.3505 Canadian dollars) (Additinal reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru;Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Peter Cooney)