Northern Courier Pipelines

WSP's laser-focused surveying services are ensuring TransCanada’s northern courier pipeline stays on track—to centimetre accuracy.


  • Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada


  • TransCanada

TransCanada was selected by Fort Hills Energy LP to design, build, own and operate the Northern Courier Pipeline Project. There were many engineering and fabrication challenges, as the 90 kilometre pipeline system transported heated bitumen and diluent products across northern Alberta, at a temperature of 140 degrees Celsius. This required the whole pipe to be insulated by 3 inches of polyurethane foam. WSP, as the Owner's Surveyor, provided planning, preliminary design survey, pre-legal survey, geo-technical and construction survey, as well as survey related to tank terminal and pump station sites. WSP provided survey and engineering design services for analyzing the ditch bottom design of heated bitumen 24” pipeline.


As the pipeline was insulated and pre-fabricated by TransCanada’s sub-contractors to ensure that the pre-designed pipeline would meet the constraints of the right-of-way and terrain during construction, this required special development to produce a detailed GIS model. The model showed the entire surface of the right-of-way and workspace, design of the ditch, addition of grade design parameters based on the construction constraints and these were turned into cross-sectional profiles and earthworks volumes. The model was used by the prime contractor for machine guidance to ensure that the ditch was dug to designed elevation and bends were installed at appropriate offsets from the right-of-way corners.