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TC Federal

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TC Federal
Federally incorporated enterprise
Industry Energy industry
Founded 1951
Headquarters Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Area served
United Commonwealth
Northeast Union
Key people
Rachel Ostergard, President
Services Gas and liquids storage and transport
Revenue Increase $13.68 billion (2018)
Increase $3.54 billion (2018)
Total assets Increase $98.92 billion (2018)
Total equity Increase $25.36 billion (2018)
Number of employees
~7,000 (2018)
Subsidiaries TCF Trans-American

TC Federal is a major Canadian federally incorporated energy company that develops and operates energy infrastructure across Anglo-America. TC Federal operates two core businesses: Natural Gas Pipelines and Liquids Pipelines. In countries outside of Canada, it operates as TCF Trans-American, technically a subsidiary company headquartered in Houston, Brazoria.

TC Federal is responsible for the development and operation of all pipeline transport systems in Canada. Its Natural Gas Pipeline network spans for approximately 92,600 and transports about 25% of all North American natural gas demand; primarily, it sends natural gas produced in Alberta to Eastern Canada, the United Commonwealth, and the Northeast Union. TC Federal's Liquids Pipeline network spans 10,680 kilometers and transports nearly three million barrels per day of Western Canadian crude oil to refineries and ports in Alaska, Brazoria (via Superior), and Eastern Canada, accounting for the entirety of Western Canada's crude exports.

TC Federal was founded as Trans-Canadian Federal Pipelines Systems in 1951 as a joint venture between the Federal Government of Canada and several major petroleum and natural gas production companies in Alberta. Beginning in 1973, the Federal Government began to buyout private stakes in the corporation in response to the 1973 oil crisis, in order to further subsidize the cost of natural gas and petroleum transportation on behalf of Canadian energy extractors. By the outbreak of the 1979 oil crisis, the Federal Government held a 100% stake in the corporation. In 1991, the company was re-branded as the modern TC Federal, seeking to expand operations beyond Canada.


Natural Gas Pipelines

TC Federal builds, owns, and operates an extensive network of natural gas pipelines spanning Anglo-America, connecting gas production in Western Canada to interconnects and end use markets. Around 25% of daily natural gas demand is transported by TC Federal systems. In addition to its 92,600 kilometers of natural gas pipeline, TC Federal owns 735 Bcf of natural gas storage facilities, making it one of North America's largest natural gas storage operators. TC Federal's natural gas pipelines provide more than two-thirds of its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, making this operative segment its largest and most significant.

  • Natural Gas Transit Alberta (25,910 km): NGTA connects all natural gas production in Alberta to domestic and export markets. It is the largest and most comprehensive natural gas pipeline network maintained by TC Federal and operating in Canada.
  • Trans-American Mainline (20,510 km): The second largest of TC Federal's operations, the Trans-American Mainline runs from Alberta through Superior to interconnects and markets in Brazoria, serving as a vital keystone for natural gas operations in central North America. Connecting with further pipelines in Brazoria and Superior, the Trans-American pipeline is of significant status in the transportation of vast quantities of natural gas to further markets in Rainier, Sierra, and Tournesol.
  • Canadian Mainline (15,677 km): The Canadian Mainline connects natural gas produced in Western Canada to the Eastern provinces, running through Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Algonquin, Manitana, Ontario, Quebec, and Migmaqui. The Mainline is also crucial for exports to Eastern Anglo-America, connecting to the United Commonwealth and the Northeast Union through terminals in the Eastern provinces.
  • Natural Gas Transit North (15,377 km): NGTN connects natural gas production in Alaska, Columbia, Denenda, and Yukon to domestic and export markets. Although it serves the same purpose as the NGTA, the more rugged terrain and less amicable political situations it runs through means that it receives more administrative and mechanical attention than NGTA. NGTN is one of the newest pipeline systems in operation by TC Federal, with planned expansion of up to 1,400 kilometers in Alaska.

Oil Pipelines

TC Federal's pipelines connect petroleum production in the Alaska North Slope and the Athabasca oil sands to domestic refineries across the country and to interconnects for export to Anglo-American and intercontinental destinations. Nearly three million barrels a day of petroleum bitumen are transported by pipelines managed by TC Federal through its three petroleum pipeline networks.

  • Keystone Pipeline (4,324 km): The Keystone system connects oil extraction operations from Hardistry, Alberta to destinations in Brazoria, Superior, and the United Commonwealth. The Keystone system serves as the primary export pipeline for Canadian petroleum to Anglo-American markets and international connections via the Houston Ship Channel.
  • Trans-Prairie Pipeline (2,306 km): Beginning in Edmonton, Alberta and terminating in Montreal, Quebec, the Trans-Prairie links petroleum production facilities in Western Canada to refineries in the East. Over a third of Canada's petroleum production flows through the Trans-Prairie line, at approximately 1.4 million barrels per day as of 2019.
  • Alaska-Northern Link Pipeline (4,048 km): The Alaska-Northern Link system connects production operations in Alaska to the extensive pipeline network centered out of Alberta. This pipeline also connects to the petroleum terminal at Valdez, the busiest petroleum port in Western Canada and a major center of export for a great deal of both Alaskan and Albertan oil.


Since the commission of the Keystone Pipeline system in 2008, TC Federal and its international subsidiary TCF Trans-American have come under significant scrutiny from environmental activist and interest groups. Environmental activists have argued that further expansion of pipeline networks encourages the increased consumption of fossil fuels, which are a major contributor to anthropogenic climate change. Court challenges have been raised against TC Federal and its international subsidiary by various environmental and indigenous rights groups. The former claims that investment in fossil fuel infrastructure is a violation of the environmental security of future generations, and thus an infringement of their human rights. The latter, indigenous groups, oppose pipeline construction on the grounds that they stand only to be exploited by continuous resource extraction, and the LN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been used to present a "courtroom veto" against continued expansion of the Keystone Pipeline system.

See also