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TransCanada Pipeline PLA Could Mean Construction Boon


October 20, 2011

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The pipeline is planned from northern Alberta to the Gulf Coast, with the potential to create thousands of construction jobs.

Thousands of unemployed electricians waiting for good news could have their hopes lifted with a freshly-signed project labor agreement between the IBEW and TransCanada Corporation.

If the U.S. State Department approves a $7 billion pipeline project to transport unrefined petroleum from the oil sands of northern Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, union members would gain 100,000 manhours of work to supply power to pump stations, TransCanada estimates.

If approved, work would begin on construction of 1,700 miles of 36” oil pipeline in 2013.The State Department is expected to make a decision on the project by the end of the year.

Within days of receiving regulatory approval, the project, Keystone XL, would kick off efforts that will create 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs in the U.S. during the construction phase.

Welders, pipefitters, heavy equipment operators, engineers, members of other unions that signed the PLA, will help fuel an economic revival that will create 118,000 spin-off jobs as local businesses benefit from workers staying in hotels, eating in restaurants and TransCanada buying equipment and supplies.

Says International President Edwin D. Hill:

We welcome the opportunity to work in cooperation with TransCanada to provide the skilled work force needed on this vital project.  At a time when jobs are the top global priority, the Keystone project will put thousands back to work and have ripple benefits throughout the North American economy. Our members look forward to being part of this historic project and pledge to deliver the highest quality work to make it a success.

TransCanada estimates that 15 pump stations that will help move the petroleum product, bitumen, from Alberta to Port Arthur, Texas, will require 6,000 manhours of work for electricians, linemen, apprentices and instrument control technicians to install a series of two to five electrically-driven pump units at each station.

The Keystone XL project will begin at Alberta and extend through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

 An independent study estimates that the project will help increase Americans’ personal income by $6.5 billion, generate more than $585 million in state and local taxes along the pipeline route and add $5 billion in property taxes over the lifetime of the project, allowing counties to invest in new schools, roads and hospitals.

Says International President Hill:

The Keystone project will do far more than create jobs. For Americans sick of seeing our national security, our financial future and our young men and women placed in harm’s way in conflicts over control of oil, this project represents a major step in establishing energy independence and security.

Nearly 2,500 IBEW members work in Alberta for companies extracting bitumen. Electricians  comprise members of Edmonton Local 424 and  travelers from across the provinces.

Oil sands projects began slowly in the 1960’s but have grown to an estimated $130 billion as new technologies have developed to reap an expected 175 billion barrels of oil from the world’s second-largest reserve of petroleum.


Photo used under a Creative Commons license from Flickr user Loozrboy.