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Once the U.S. Gulf Coast expansion is complete, the Keystone system will be able to move 1.3 Million barrels of oil per day across North America. Currently, Keystone can deliver up to 590,000 barrels of oil into markets at Wood River and Patoka, Illinois and Cushing, Oklahoma.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline will move all types of crude oil that's determined by US refineries. This oil is a blended crude that is very similar to other oil from Alberta. Bitumen is blended with synthetic, conventional crude oil and condensate commonly referred as WCS (Western Canadian Select) or CLK Cold Lake Blend.  Condensate is a by-product of natural gas production.

The oil that is already being delivered on Keystone is no different than other crude oils. The same is true for oil that would be shipped on Keystone XL.  Specifically, the chemical composition of oil sands crude is comparable to other types of crude oils produced in northern California, Nigeria, Russia, Mexico and Venezuela and are currently transported and refined in the U.S. Oil from the oil sands has been shipped in and around the United States for decades.

Once the Gulf Coast Expansion project is complete, in addition to Canadian crude oil, Keystone will also be able to transport crude oil from U.S. producers in Texas, Oklahoma, Montana and North Dakota.

Each day in the U.S. alone, more than 200,000 miles of pipelines move oil and other energy products safely to where they are needed, enough pipe to circle the earth eight times.

National pipeline statistics indicate that pipeline accidents are uncommon and that leaks tend to be small; most pipeline leaks involve three barrels or less, 80 per cent of spills involve less than 50 barrels and less than 0.5 per cent of spills total more than 10,000 barrels.

According to the Association of Oil Pipelines, spills along hazardous liquid pipeline rights-of-way have fallen from two incidents per thousand miles in 1999-2001 to 0.8 incidents per thousand miles in 2005-2007, a decline of 60 per cent.

Compared to other methods of moving energy such as tankers and rail, pipelines have significantly lower incident rates, and incidents are less likely to involve injury and or fatality.

The U.S. is the number one consumer of crude oil in the world, processing more than 15 Million barrels per day; even as fuel efficiency improves and the U.S. moves towards more renewables, their demand for crude oil is expected to stay constant until 2035.

The U.S. imports over 10 Million barrels per day of their crude oil needs and Canada is the number one supplier, exporting over 2 Million barrels per day. Other sources of oil that the U.S. relies on have become increasingly unstable due to politics or due to physical declines. As these sources become more expensive and less available, U.S. demand for stable, friendly and growing supplies of Canadian oil will continue to grow. 

As the U.S. continues to import more Canadian oil, the demand for large scale trans-continental pipelines to transport this oil will also continue to grow.

 

TransCanada has been in the pipeline business for over 60 years and is a leader with one of the best pipeline safety and operating records in the industry.

We monitor our pipeline system through a centralized high-tech centre 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We use satellite technology that sends data every five seconds from 16,000 data points to our monitoring centre. If a drop in pressure is detected, we can isolate any section of our pipeline by remotely closing any of the hundreds of valves on the system within minutes. Since the pipeline is four feet below the ground, we can begin repairs immediately and effectively.

When designing and constructing facilities we use high-strength steel, specialized welding and inspection techniques developed specifically for high-pressure pipelines. All of TransCanada's pipe is delivered from qualified manufacturers with a corrosion resistant protective coating.

We use non-destructive examination equipment to inspect all welds and then apply a coating to the weld to protect it from corrosion. Additionally, prior to being placed into operation, all new pipeline sections are pressure tested with water up to at least 125 per cent of the pipeline's maximum allowable operating pressure.

Before beginning operations, TransCanada filed an emergency response plan with the regulators. Our emergency response plans are approved by regulators, and we regularly test and practice the activation of these plans so in the event something does occur, we are ready to respond quickly and effectively.

We design, construct and operate our pipelines to exceed all applicable laws and regulations and to minimize risks to our employees, the public and the environment. We respect the diverse environments and cultures in which we operate. We work diligently to minimize adverse environmental impacts from our activities, while upholding our responsibility to meet today's strategic energy demands. Our goal is to conserve environmental resources and reestablish the essential physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the environment.

To learn more about TransCanada's commitment to the environment please view our 2009 Corporate Sustainability Report.

To learn more about the Keystone Project's Construction and remediation plans please visit the project website.

Aboriginal and Native American Relations have been an integral part of TransCanada's operations for over 30 years. Our proactive approach to community dialogue is based on three elements: communication, engagement and commitment. We believe it is important to continually communicate with communities, engage on our activities and follow through on our commitments.

Our Aboriginal and Native American Relations Policy is guided by principles of trust, respect and responsibility. We work together with Aboriginal communities to find mutually acceptable solutions and benefits.
For example, our Aboriginal Human Resource Strategy was developed to increase Aboriginal employment accessibility and to support our respectful and inclusive work environment. Our Aboriginal Contracting Strategy provides opportunities for Aboriginal businesses to participate in both the construction of new facilities and the ongoing maintenance of existing facilities.

TransCanada will continue to review and adapt our Aboriginal Relations Policy, programs and initiatives to meet the changing needs of our business and Aboriginal communities. While our methods may change, our commitment remains.

To learn more, please visit: TransCanada's  Community, Aboriginal and Native American Relations page

TransCanada has a diverse group of stakeholders with many different interests.  Through our public communication and consultation programs we engage regularly with our stakeholders to share information about our plans, help them understand our projects and garner their views.

We have established a set of principles that govern our dealings with stakeholders.  These principles are based on:

  • Trust, fairness and respect;
  • Aiding in the safety of the public and our facilities;
  • Our commitment to social responsibility with respect to land and landowners from our initial interest in business development through project design.

TransCanada is committed to treating all landowners who may be affected by our project honestly, fairly and with mutual respect.

All landowners will receive fair and equitable compensation for the land easements granted and TransCanada will work closely with them to identify special circumstances, land restrictions, access routes and other construction requirements to minimize disturbance to the land, the landowner and the environment.

To learn more, please visit TransCanada's Community and Landowners Relations page.

The Keystone Gulf Coast Expansion project is in the final stage of regulatory review in the U.S. Because the pipeline will cross an international boundary, approval from the U.S. Department of State is required. The Department of State has committed to making a decision on the project by the end of 2011. The project is shovel-ready and construction will begin immediately upon receipt of the necessary approvals. Based on the current regulatory timelines the Gulf Coast Expansion will be in service in 2013.

To learn more about TransCanada's Keystone Gulf Coast Expansion Project to the environment please visit the project website.