TransCanada pipeline

Enbridge Pipeline System Canada CBC News

The route of the TransCanada pipeline

The TransCanada pipeline is a system of natural gas pipelines, up to 121.92 centimetres (48 Inches) in diameter, that carries gas through Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. It is maintained by TransCanada PipeLines, LP. It is the longest pipeline in Canada.

Creation

Canada's population was booming during the 1950s, and energy shortages were becoming problematic.[1] Canadian company TransCanada PipeLines Ltd. was incorporated in 1951 to undertake the construction of a natural gas pipeline across Canada. The financing of the project was split 50–50 between American and Canadian interests.[1]

Two applicants originally expressed interest in moving gas east: Canadian Delhi Oil Company (now called TCPL) proposed moving gas to the major cities of eastern Canada by an all-Canadian route, while Western Pipelines wanted to stop at Winnipeg with a branch line south to sell into the midwestern United States. In 1954 C. D. Howe, a member of the Cabinet of Canada of a Liberal Government, forced the two companies to merge, with the all-Canadian route preferred over its more economical but American-routed competitor. This imposed solution reflected problems encountered with the construction of the Interprovincial oil pipeline. Despite the speed of its construction, the earlier line caused angry debate in Parliament, with the Opposition arguing that Canadian centres deserved consideration before American customers and that "the main pipeline carrying Canadian oil should be laid in Canadian soil". By constructing its natural gas mainline along an entirely Canadian route, TCPL accommodated nationalist sentiments, solving a political problem for the federal government.

The regulatory process for TCPL proved long and arduous. After rejecting proposals twice, Alberta finally granted its permission to export gas from the province in 1953. At first, the province waited for explorers to prove gas reserves sufficient for its thirty-year needs, intending to only allow exports in excess of those needs. After clearing this hurdle, the federal government virtually compelled TCPL into a merger with Western pipelines. When this reorganized TCPL went before the Federal Power Commission for permission to sell gas into the United States, the Americans greeted it coolly. The FPC proved sceptical of the project's financing and unimpressed with Alberta's reserves.

Politics

The 1,090-kilometre section crossing the Canadian Shield was the most difficult leg of the pipeline. Believing construction costs could make the line uneconomic, private sector sponsors refused to finance this portion of the line. Since the federal government wanted the line laid for nationalistic reasons, the reigning Liberals put a bill before Parliament to create a crown corporation to build and own the Canadian Shield portion of the line, leasing it back to TCPL.

The Louis St. Laurent government aggressively restricted debate on this bill to get construction underway by June 1956, knowing that delays beyond that month would postpone the entire project a year. The use of closure created a Parliamentary scandal. Known as the Great Pipeline Debate, this parliamentary episode contributed to the government's defeat at the polls in 1957, ending many years of Liberal rule, and bringing in a government under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.[2]

The bill was passed and construction of the TransCanada pipeline began.

A stock trading scandal surrounding Northern Ontario Natural Gas, the contractor for the Northern Ontario leg of the pipeline, also implicated Sudbury mayor Leo Landreville and Ontario provincial cabinet ministers Philip Kelly, William Griesinger and Clare Mapledoram between 1955 and 1958.[3]

Construction

The TransCanada pipeline right-of-way through Panmure Alvar, west of Ottawa

The completion of this project was a spectacular technological achievement. In the first three years of construction (1956–58), workers installed 3,500 kilometres of pipe, stretching from the Alberta–Saskatchewan border to Toronto and Montreal. Gas service to Regina and Winnipeg commenced in 1957 and the line reached the Lakehead before the end of that year.

Building the Canadian Shield leg required continual blasting. For one 320-metre (1,050 ft) stretch, the construction crew drilled 2.4-metre (7.9 ft) holes into the rock, three abreast, at 56-centimetre intervals. Dynamite broke up other stretches, 305 metres (1,001 ft) at a time.

On 10 October 1958, a final weld completed the line and on 27 October, the first Alberta gas entered Toronto. For more than two decades, the TransCanada pipeline was the longest in the world.[4] Only in the early 1980s was its length finally exceeded by a Soviet pipeline from Siberia to Western Europe.

Incidents

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Trans-Canada Pipe Lines Limited". Retrieved 7 December 2009.
  2. ^ "Trans-Canada Pipeline: Feat and fury". The Days Before Yesterday. CBC Television. 16 December 1973. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  3. ^ Bad Judgment: The Case of Justice Leo A. Landreville, William Kaplan, 1996.
  4. ^ "History of Pipelines". Canadian Energy Pipeline Association. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
  5. ^ "Ontario blast rips pipeline". The Bulletin. Retrieved 7 December 2009.[dead link]
  6. ^ Pipeline rupture report raises questions about TransCanada inspections., CBC, 4 February 2014, Amber Hildebrant. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Explosion rocks TransCanada pipeline in Ontario". calgaryherald. Archived from the original on 18 September 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
  8. ^ "REGIONAL: Pipeline explosion near Englehart". Timmins Times. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
  9. ^ "Northern Ontario pipeline explodes". CBC News. 20 February 2011.
  10. ^ Wiese, Jeffrey D. (28 June 2011). "Amended Corrective Action Order – CPF No. 3-2011-5006H" (PDF). primis.phmsa.dot.gov.
  11. ^ Rusnell, Charles; Sawa, Timothy; Loiero, Joseph (24 October 2012). "Quality concerns arose before TransCanada pipeline: Company proposing Keystone XL under scrutiny for previous line failure". CBC News. Archived from the original on 4 February 2017.
  12. ^ Wiese, Jeffrey D. (21 July 2011). "Corrective Action Order CPF No. 5-2011-1004H" (PDF). primis.phmsa.dot.gov. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Explosion and fire rock natural gas pipelline in southern Manitoba". The Chronicle Herald. 25 January 2014. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  14. ^ The Canadian Press (25 January 2014). "Updated: Explosion and fire rock natural gas pipeline in southern Manitoba". Maclean's. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  15. ^ "TransCanada Suffers 3rd Pipeline Accident in 9 Months". HuffPost Canada. 17 September 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  16. ^ Calzavara, Mark (16 September 2014). "Transcanada has third catastrophic pipeline leak in 9 months". The Council of Canadians. Retrieved 7 November 2019.