TransCanada has suspended its $15bn North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) lawsuit which was filed against the US government for the Keystone XL pipeline project.

The suspension of the challenge indicates that the firm seems to be pinning hopes on securing approval for the $8bn pipeline project from the US President Donald Trump.

In January, TransCanada said it reapplied for presidential permit for the Keystone XL project after Trump signed an executive order to pave the way for the company to gain clearance for the pipeline.

TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling earlier said: "This privately funded infrastructure project will help meet America's growing energy needs as well as create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs and generate substantial economic benefit throughout the US and Canada.”

The company filed the NAFTA lawsuit in 2016 following the rejection of the project by the US former president Barack Obama, seeking $15bn in damages.

TransCanada has now suspended the process before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes until 27 March, reported The Canadian Press.

Recently, the company also filed an application with the Nebraska Public Service Commission, seeking approval for the Keystone XL pipeline route through the state.

Although the project secured regulatory approval in Canada, it faced opposition from environmental groups in the US for more than seven years, reported Reuters.

If it secures approval and becomes operational, the 1,897km-long Keystone XL pipeline will have a capacity to transfer over 800,000 barrels per day of heavy crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast.