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Construction updates

We are committed to building and maintaining positive relationships with landowners, communities and Indigenous groups based on respect, honesty and fairness. We engage early and continue to communicate throughout the construction process, answering questions and providing prompt and accurate information about our construction progress.

Ensuring the safety of our crews and community members during COVID-19

Safety is our number one value! With the current and evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) conditions, we will continue to take guidance from all levels of government and health authorities to determine the most proactive and responsible actions in order to ensure our workforce and the surrounding communities are safe during Keystone XL’s pre-construction and construction activities.

We have sought the expertise and experience of International SOS, Corporate Medical Advisors, a member of the International SOS Group of companies, and their partner Beacon Occupational Health and Safety Services, to provide medical advisory and consultation services.

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U.S. and Canada construction activity

Pipeline construction


April-May, 2020 In early May, Keystone XL successfully completed pipeline construction of the 1.4-mile (2.2-km) border crossing and a small crew is all that remains on-site to finalize reclamation and remediation activities.

The right-of-way

Prior to construction, we secure rights to strips of land called rights-of-way. While we maintain right-of-way easements for the life of the project, we work with landowners to address any concerns caused by pipeline activities.

Landowners retain ownership of the land and can continue to farm or ranch. There will be some restrictions placed on the easement to ensure the safety of the pipeline, including keeping the land free and clear of brush, trees and permanent structures on the right-of-way. We provide landowners with notice prior to clearing the right-of-way for construction.

The permanent right-of-way for the Keystone XL Project in the U.S. is 50 feet wide and approximately 13 meters in Canada.

Did you know?

We have been internationally recognized for:

  • Being one of the first companies to apply horizontal directional drilling versus open cut for larger river crossings
  • Pioneering the use of innovative winter construction techniques through short grass prairie ecosystems to ensure minimal impacts
  • Investing significantly in the preservation and enhancement of endangered species habitats
  • Adopting and developing new technology to make our pipelines more energy efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Stages of pipeline construction

Construction will be carried out by our highly qualified prime contractors during both summer and winter months, using the safest, least disruptive construction methods that have been developed over the past 75 years.


Clearing and grading – Topsoil is removed and the ground is prepared along the right-of-way. Topsoil is stored so it can be replaced following construction.

Trenching – Trenches are excavated for the pipe, storing the subsoil to fill the trench after the pipe is lowered into the trench.

Stringing/bending – Pipeline crews line up sections of the pipe along the edge of the trench. A machine bends the pipe so that it follows the pipeline route and the contour of the land.

Welding/coating – Extreme care is used to weld the pieces together by highly qualified welders. Pipeline joints are coated with an anti-corrosion material and then carefully inspected.

Lowering in and tie-ins – Specially designed equipment lowers the sections of welded pipe into the trench. A separate crew completes the final welds (tie-ins), connecting continuous lengths of pipe.

Backfilling – The stored subsoil is returned to the trench to bury the pipeline.

Pressure testing – The pipeline is filled with water and pressurized up to a level that exceeds the operating pressure of the line to ensure that the pipeline is ready to transition safely to operation.

Reclamation – Reclamation is a critical part of our project. Clean-up begins immediately following construction to restore the pipeline right-of-way.

Land reclamation

Great care is taken to reduce our impact on the environment and the people who live in the area. Once the pipeline is operating, we work to restore the land to its original condition.

Over the course of our 65-year history, we have successfully reclaimed hundreds of thousands of acres of land in arid grasslands, mountainous regions, sandy soils, forest, wetlands and rich croplands. We value the landscape where we live, where we work and where we play, and like you, we care about the environment. That means we want to cause as little disturbance to the land and to the landowners and land users as possible.