TC Energy Corp. is gauging support to add up to 80,000 b/d of new oil capacity to the 11-year-old Keystone XL pipeline that moves supply from Alberta to U.S. markets.


The open season, running until Feb. 19, is testing interest and gathering shipper bids. Agreements would be completed within 60 days after a March 26 deadline for customers to provide assurance they would pay the tolls.

In the United States, the Calgary-based operator has a presidential permit granted by the Trump administration to increase Keystone oil flows to capacity without constructing new facilities. Pump and flow improvements have been made at the Canadian inlet.

The proposed Keystone contracts, if they gain enough support from customers, would keep traffic volumes high on the 600,000 b/d system even if its proposed larger second stage, the 830,000 b/d system, were to be built.

Canadian legs of Keystone are under construction with financial support from the Alberta government. In the United States the project remains mired in legal and political disputes, with its water crossings permit suspended by the courts and facing potential opposition by the incoming Biden administration. In October a federal district court denied ongoing legal challenges to the approval of the system.

During an investor day in November, TC’s liquids pipelines chief Bevin Wirzba expressed optimism that the job creation and native benefits formula that has helped progress TC’s natural gas system Coastal GasLink also would work for the Keystone plan.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s government backs Keystone with a C$7.5 billion ($5.3 billion) part ownership and loan guarantee package. About 3,000 workers are building the Canadian legs. 

TC President Russ Girling has predicted the Keystone labor force would grow to 15,000 in 2021 if the Biden administration allows construction in the United States.