TransCanada Corporation is one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America, with oil and gas pipelines and power generation facilities extending throughout the continent.
TransCanada’s existing and proposed operations will facilitate a significant expansion of unconventional oil and gas production throughout North America, putting the company on our Top 50 list as a major emitter.
Head office: Calgary, Alberta
Countries of operation: Canada, United States, Mexico
Revenue: C$13.4 billion28
Assets: C$86.1 billion 29
Memberships: American Petroleum Institute, Canadian Electricity Association, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association,International Emissions Trading Association, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, Alberta Energy Efficiency Alliance, Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada
TransCanada was founded in 1951 through a Special Act of Parliament as Trans-Canada Pipe Lines Limited to develop the TransCanada Pipeline. Known today as the Canadian Mainline, this pipeline supplies Eastern Canada with natural gas produced in the West.1 In 2016, TransCanada acquired the Columbia Pipeline Group for US$13 billion, increasing the company’s natural gas pipeline assets by nearly 40 per cent.2 The same year, the company became the record holder for the largest bought deal in Canadian history, when lead underwriters RBC Capital Markets and TD Securities helped fulfill an equity financing agreement that provided the company with C$4.2 billion dollars.3
TransCanada’s natural gas pipeline system extends for 92,600 km,4 connecting virtually all major gas supply basins in North America. Its 4,900 km of oil pipeline transports oil between Canada, Mexico and the US. TransCanada also owns or holds interests in numerous power generation facilities drawing on nuclear, wind and natural gas energy sources in Canada and the US.5
|Royal Bank of Canada||CA||7.65|
|T. Rowe Price Group Inc.||US||4.44|
|Capital Group Co. Inc.||US||3.49|
|Bank of Montreal||CA||3.11|
|Deutsche Bank AG||DE||2.99|
|Wellington Management Group LLP||US||2.79|
|Vanguard Group Inc.||US||2.56|
|Bank of Nova Scotia||CA||2.37|
|Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce||CA||1.99|
|Power Corporation of Canada||CA||1.96|
|Province of Québec||CA||1.38|
|Franklin Resources Inc.||US||1.17|
|Goldman Sachs Group Inc.||US||1.04|
|JPMorgan Chase & Co.||US||1.02|
Included are all shareholdings of 1% and greater. Source: Orbis Database, October 2018.
In addition to these ownership stakes, TransCanada also receives nearly US$6 billion of financing via a number of term loans and revolving credit for general corporate finance, including US$1.5 billion revolving credit with JPMorgan Chase (lead agent) and US$4.22 billion revolving credit with Bank of Montreal (lead agent).6
Although TransCanada claims that its pipelines ship oil and gas in a “socially and environmentally sustainable manner” that respects “Indigenous groups, traditions and lands,”7 such attempts to “green” its image are contradicted by its actions on the ground.
TransCanada leans on research and development in pipeline technology in an attempt to mitigate the environmental risks of the fossil fuels shipped through its pipelines: it was named one of Canada’s top corporate R&D spenders by Research Infosource, having spent about C$150 million on internal and external research partnerships for pipeline development.8
TransCanada’s Indigenous relations policy says that the company seeks to “involve Indigenous communities in all aspects of project development” while providing financial accommodations for affected communities.9
Despite such assertions, the company plans to dramatically expand its existing pipeline network across North America, committing itself to further lock in carbon extraction in an era of deepening climate crisis. Its many pipeline projects have also directly contravened the Indigenous leadership of territories they traverse.
Such projects include the Keystone XL, a proposed extension of the Keystone pipeline, involving a 4,324 km 10 route that would carry roughly 830,000 barrels of oil a day11 from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska.12
The pipeline was repeatedly delayed and ultimately rejected by the Obama administration in November 2015, yet President Trump has since reversed Obama’s decision and signed executive orders aimed at facilitating its construction. Despite enormous resistance from Indigenous groups, landowners and environmental groups, TransCanada continues to pursue construction on the project.13
TransCanada also plans to benefit from the nascent liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in British Columbia. It has proposed major gas pipelines that would feed the LNG production plants, including the highly contentious Coastal GasLink—a pipeline that would deliver fracked gas from the Montney region in northeastern BC to the proposed LNG Canada facility near Kitimat, BC. If developed, an LNG industry in BC would render the province’s climate targets unachievable.14
Given the uncertain market conditions surrounding the development of a large-scale LNG export industry in BC, TransCanada is moving ahead with a $2 billion expansion to its pipeline system in BC and Alberta—the NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) system.15 The project focuses on increased gas transmission infrastructure in the Montney and Duvernay shale gas plays, located in northeastern BC and central Alberta, respectively. The NGTL expansion would include the construction of new pipeline section loops totalling 375 km and the addition of compression facilities, new meter stations and other associated facilities.16 The new pipelines would connect to TransCanada’s larger conduits, enabling the company to ship growing volumes of gas to the taroil sands, as well as producing new capacity to move gas south to the U.S Pacific Northwest, California and Nevada markets.17
In 2014, TransCanada filed a project application for the Energy East pipeline. The proposed project would have carried more than one million barrels of bitumen every day from Alberta and Saskatchewan across the country to be refined at or exported from facilities in New Brunswick and Québec, adding 1,500 km of new oil pipeline to an already existing network of over 3,000 km of former natural gas pipeline.18 While TransCanada suggested that the pipeline would support Canada’s energy security, the vast majority of Energy East’s 1.1 million barrels per day would have been shipped overseas as unrefined crude oil.19
Once TransCanada filed its application for Energy East, communities along the proposed route protested the project and began a massive groundswell of opposition.20 TransCanada’s decision to cancel the project in 2017 was due in part to the widespread resistance.
TransCanada’s own lobbying activity may have further contributed to Energy East’s demise. Reporting by Mike De Souza for the National Observer found that members of the National Energy Board panel reviewing the Energy East pipeline met in private with former Québec premier Jean Charest, who had taken on a role as a consultant for TransCanada.21 In the meeting, Charest counselled the panel on how to create public support for the pipeline.22 Revelations of the meeting spurred the removal of the panel, and new panel members appointed in their place ruled that climate impacts needed to be weighed in future pipeline proposals 23—a change that may have helped to tip the scales toward TransCanada’s decision to cancel the project in 2017.
TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline has also come under fire, for imposing construction activities on the territories of the Wet’suwet’en peoples. All 13 Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs whose jurisdiction extends through the pipeline’s path have explicitly rejected the project.24 The Wet’suwet’en territory includes a long-standing site of land-based resistance to fossil fuel infrastructure—the Unist’ot’en camp. In the wake of TransCanada’s refusal to acknowledge hereditary jurisdiction, the Unist’ot’en and the Gidimt’en (another house clan in Wet’suwet’en territory) faced militarized occupation by RCMP officers attempting to enforce an injunction by TransCanada to access the territory without Wet’suwet’en consent.25 Observers have raised concerns about the force used by RCMP tactical units as they entered the territory and arrested 14 people.26 In the wake of the occupation, TransCanada continues to carry out pre-construction activities to clear the right-of-way for the pipeline within Wet’suwet’en territory alongside militarized police presence. Meanwhile, the company’s Keystone XL expansion and LNG development plans in BC continue to face resistance.27
Learn more about TransCanada Corporation at LittleSis.org
The intent of the Corporate Mapping Project database is to engage Canadians in a conversation about the role of the fossil fuel sector in our democracy, by “mapping” how power and influence play out in the oil, gas and coal industries of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.