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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TransCanada Would Buy American... If We Were Selling

A commenter going by the handle "jcmillar" leaves a fascinating comment on my Saturday post about TransCanada using foreign steel for the Keystone pipeline while American steel workers are laid off. "jcmillar" says America can't gripe about not getting more steel business from TransCanada, because U.S. firms don't have the capacity to make the steel required for the pipeline.

The comment is essentially anonymous, as "jcmillar" leaves no link or contact info that verifies he/she/it really exists. But I do find a James Millar who lists himself on LinkedIn as Manager of Corporate Communications and Media Relations for TransCanada. Of course, I can also find a James C. Millar listed as a truck driver in Pierre. I can't verify any connections... but "jcmillar," feel free to drop by again to confirm or deny.

In the meantime, I find "jcmillar"'s comments sufficiently interesting to give them their own post:

TransCanada conducted a competitive bid process in 2007 for supply of 560,000 short tons (approximately 1600 miles) of pipe.

12 pipe mills were contacted that had the capability to produce the required pipe and meet delivery deadlines. Four were based in the U.S., two in Canada and six outside of North America.

Two U.S.-based mills were awarded orders to supply a total of 166,000 short tons of line pipe (this was their maximum available capacity that met project delivery requirements).

A Canadian mill was awarded 128,000 tons (this was their maximum available capacity that met project delivery requirements).

Overseas mills were awarded the balance of 266,000 short tons.

Steel is not steel. Only four per cent or less of steel production is made for pipe. Granite City does not make pipe steel.

The type of steel made by the Granite City plant does not meet the technical standards needed for large diameter pipe.

Keystone will employ 5,000 U.S. union employees in 2009 and 2010. This does not include Keystone XL which will employ similar numbers in 2011-2012.

Posted by jcmillar to Madville Times at 5/19/2009 9:12 AM

The steelworkers at the Granite City mill say they can make the steel, and that there are plenty of U.S. facilities that can make the pipe. But note "jcmillar"'s careful language about meeting "project delivery requirements" and "technical standards." Does that mean U.S. plants couldn't make the steel fast enough, or thin enough, or simply cheap enough? Who's got the full story here?

Update 15:05 CDT: Mr. James Millar, Manager of Corporate Communications & Media Relations, TransCanada, confirms via e-mail that he is "jcmillar," source of the above information about the biding process for steel for Keystone I.

1 comment:

  1. That is about the same story they presented here in Winner on the pipe for the project.

    The writer mentions the number of employees. That is interesting because when asked a question about illegal aliens working, a pipeline representative said that all companies employing workers would be independent contractors and Keystone would have no control over them. It would be up to the feds apparently.

    The company may end up owning and operating the pipeline, but the meeting in Winner gave the impression at least that as for the actual work, the pipeline company was more or less a temporary holding company for independent contractors.

    Which then raises an interesting question of who is actually responsible if a problem develops that spews crude oil out under 1400 pounds of pressure.


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