Alex Pourbaix: Executive vice-president and president, Development
In anticipation of TransCanada’s upcoming Annual Meeting on May 1, members of TransCanada’s executive leadership team share their thoughts on significant milestones from the past year and the company’s priorities for 2015.
2014 was a challenging but rewarding year for TransCanada, and now that we are well into 2015 it is clear there are exciting opportunities ahead even as we adjust to the difficulties facing our industry due to low oil and natural gas prices.
One of our top priorities continues to be the advancement of our unprecedented $46-billion capital growth plan that will transform the company, nearly doubling our asset base to more than $90 billion by 2020. This includes completing $12 billion small-scale projects primarily in Canada and Mexico over the next three years, which will drive predictable growth in earnings, cash flow and dividends for our shareholders.
We know that completing all of these projects will not be an easy task. Energy infrastructure projects are now facing greater stakeholder expectations and more public scrutiny than ever before. But we are up to the challenge of raising the bar on our performance and setting the highest standards for our industry as we bring our plans to life.
World-class operations, a deep commitment to safety and doing the right thing when it comes to dealing with the thousands of landowners, to Indigenous groups, community leaders, local businesses and stakeholders we interact with are critical to our success. We demonstrate these qualities every day as we safely deliver 20 per cent of North America’s natural gas supply, move one-fifth of Canada’s crude oil exports to U.S. markets and generate enough electricity for 11 million homes.
We achieved significant milestones on many of our projects last year. We filed the most comprehensive regulatory application in our company’s history for the Energy East Pipeline Project – the result of more than 18 months of planning, field work and extensive stakeholder engagement consultation with more than 7,000 community members, 5,500 landowners and 155 First Nations and Metis communities across six provinces. Our Coastal GasLink and Prince Rupert Gas Transmission natural gas pipeline projects in British Columbia made tremendous progress with environmental assessment work as well as stakeholder and Aboriginal engagement that led to both projects receiving Environmental Assessment Certificates late in 2014. And we began construction on several of our new Alberta crude oil pipeline and terminal facilities after receiving approval from the Alberta Energy Regulator.
Being a good neighbour and corporate citizen is important to us. But relying on our track record isn’t enough, so we have devoted significant resources to identifying the most important issues facing our company and developing more rigorous programs to track performance and mitigate risk. This has led to more transparency in our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting. This has been recognized by sustainability rating agencies around the world. For the 13th year in a row, TransCanada was included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and in 2014 we regained a place on their North America Index. We also were recognized as a leader in disclosing our carbon emissions and our strategy for mitigating the business risks of climate change by the London-based CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project).
No one has a greater interest that we do in ensuring that our assets are built responsibly and operate safely. That’s why we consider the entire life cycle of our assets – from project development and construction to operations – and embed a culture of safety and quality in all that we do.
Our occupational and facility safety records are among the best in the industry, but we won’t be satisfied until we reach our ultimate goal of zero incidents as we believe no safety-related incidents are acceptable. It’s for this reason that we will invest more than $1.5 billion in 2015 on integrity and preventative maintenance programs for our assets. We are also leaders when it comes to adopting new technologies to enhance the safety and efficiency of our construction and operations, investing more than $80 million over the past five years to research and development work with industry and government partners.
As we progress through 2015, we’re excited about the opportunities at lie ahead. We have been safely and reliably transporting the energy North America needs for more than 60 years. Our employees and their families are an active part of the communities where they live and work. That’s why we view the important work of building and maintaining long-term relationships as a cornerstone of our business.
We work from the ground up by engaging directly with the people who are involved in our projects, listening closely to their needs and concerns and responding with positive solutions. These relationships support public confidence in our business, allowing us to continue providing the energy our society needs while meeting the needs of our customers into the future.