TransCanada is in talks to take over a U.S. pipeline firm, Columbia Pipeline Group Inc., for as much as $10 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

TransCanada shares were off about three per cent and Columbia shares jumped by 15 per cent after the newspaper — citing unnamed sources familiar with the negotiations — said a deal could be announced in the coming weeks.

Shares in both companies were then briefly halted on their respective stock exchanges once the report came out.

In a statement, Calgary-based TransCanada said, "While we are in discussions regarding a potential transaction with a third party, no agreement has been reached and there is no assurance that these discussions will continue or that any transaction will be agreed upon. Until such time as it is appropriate to make a public announcement on any potential transaction, should one occur, TransCanada will not comment further on this matter."

In November, the U.S. formally rejected TransCanada's bid to create the Keystone XL pipeline that would have transported oil from Canada's oilsands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The company is also trying to create the Energy East pipeline that will move Canadian oil from the western oil patch to ports and refineries on the Atlantic coast.

A deal with Columbia Pipeline, should it come to fruition, would add to TransCanada's already vast natural gas pipeline network.

Columbia Pipeline owns more than 24,000 kilometres of gas pipelines in the U.S.