A 60-year record of safety and reliability
We strive for excellence in environmental stewardship, protection and performance at every level of our organization. Environmental responsibility is about pursuing the best environmental practices. Sharing technological advancements across the industry is a priority for improving safety and environmental stewardship for our communities and neighbors.
We have an over 60-year record of safety and reliability, coupled with a reputation for respectful and longstanding relationships with the communities where we operate.
Meeting North America’s energy needs
Millions of North Americans depend on the energy we deliver to heat homes, power businesses and fuel transportation. Meeting this demand in an environmentally sustainable way has always been integral to our operations. We strive to minimize our environmental footprint while fulfilling our obligation to meet the continent’s growing demand for reliable energy.
We have been internationally recognized for minimizing environmental impacts:
- Being one of the first companies to apply directional drilling versus open cut for larger river crossings
- Pioneering the use of innovative winter construction techniques through short grass prairie ecosystems to ensure minimal impacts
- Investing significantly in the preservation and enhancement of endangered species habitats
- Adopting and developing new technology to make our pipelines more energy efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Applying mobile compressors to reduce methane emissions
We identify any potential negative impacts to water at the planning stage, and work to avoid, minimize or mitigate them. Research is integral when working around water systems.
Pipeline design, construction and method of crossing is based on:
- Industry proven construction techniques
- Field study and stakeholder information
- Regulatory compliance requirements
Special techniques and water safety precautions
Horizontal directional drilling
HDD is a drilling technique used to bury a pipeline a minimum of 25 feet below riverbeds, brooks and streams.
High-strength carbon steel
When building pipelines near waterways we use high-strength carbon steel that can withstand the impact from a 65-ton excavator with 3.5-inch teeth.
Corrosion-resistant fusion-bonded epoxy (FBE) coating
A highly advanced, corrosion-resistant fusion-bonded epoxy (FBE) coating that is designed specifically to meet TransCanada’s safety standards.
Cathodic protection system
Cathodic protection connects protected pipeline metal to a more easily corroded piece of metal attached to the pipeline. This technique is also used to protect bridges, boats and cars from corrosion and rust.
Automated shut-off valves
Keystone XL will be equipped with more automated shut-off valves placed at shorter intervals. Extra valves will also be placed on each side of water crossings and other areas of higher consequence. They can be closed remotely on either side of the line, isolating the affected area within minutes of detection.
Keystone XL and the Ogallala Aquifer
The Ogallala Aquifer covers 174,000 square miles over portions of eight states. Currently, 15,000 miles of pipeline safely transport more than 30 billion gallons of oil and hazardous liquids across the Ogallala Aquifer every day.
The aquifer is a very large rock formation with multiple layers of sands, soils and rocks – offering natural protection for the water below. In the very unlikely event of an incident along the Keystone XL Pipeline, impact modeling conducted by the State Department and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has shown that, impacts would be localized to as little as tens of feet.
Keystone XL and greenhouse gas emissions
The State Department, independent experts and agencies and climate scientists have all confirmed Keystone XL will have minimal impacts on the environment, GHG emissions and no detectable impact on climate change.
View the full Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) PDF
GHG emissions associated with shipping oil by rail, barge and truck are significantly greater than Keystone XL.
“The additional contribution [of greenhouse gases] coming from the oil sands in Canada is less than one day of the CO2 emissions of China – less than one day; it’s a couple of hours.”
Faith Birol, IEA Chief Economist
Putting Canada’s GHG emissions into context
Numerous studies have shown that oil sands crude has a comparable GHG footprint to nearly half of all crude oils currently refined in the United States. In many cases oil sands derived crudes have a smaller GHG footprint than oils derived from Venezuela and California (two prominent sources for heavy crude oil). Keystone XL would replace costly, more GHG intensive Venezuelan crude oils with stable, secure oil from Canada and the U.S.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) discovered diluted bitumen is as safe to transport as any other crude oil in the country.
Keystone XL’s path is east of more than 80% of the Ogallala Aquifer.