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What's in a name? Just ask TransCanada -- soon to be TC Energy


Infrastructure company latest to rebrand identity

Storage and power fill out North American pipeline portfolio

  • Author
  • Harry Weber
  • Editor
  • Richard Rubin
  • Commodity
  • Oil

Houston — TransCanada wants to change its name to TC Energy to reflect that it operates in locations beyond Canada and in segments other than pipelines.

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The move announced Wednesday, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, amounts to the latest sign of major infrastructure and exploration companies' efforts to broaden its market growth opportunities.

Think BP two decades ago, which was shortened from British Petroleum to signify its global integrated reach, and Dominion, which decided in 2017 to replace the word Resources in its name with Energy as the power provider was expanding its pipeline and LNG export operations. Just last year, Statoil joined the club by rebranding as Equinor, in part to drop the oil focus from its name.

"For a lot of companies, it is kind of a fresh presentation, a fresh start," Ed Hirs, an energy economist at the University of Houston, said in a telephone interview. "Does it mean anything materially to the strategy of the company? No. Does it change the company's identity? Not for anyone who knows the company today. But for those who know the company in five years, 10 years, 20 years, it will be a different entity for them."

As TransCanada embarks on billions of dollars in expansions and new projects across North America, it is looking to capture the market attention that comes from the scale of operating pipelines, power generation and energy storage operations in the US, Mexico, and at home. And while natural gas transportation is among its biggest focuses, oil opportunities abound.

"While our strategy and priorities remain the same, we believe the new name will help to further unite our employees and enable us to better connect with our diverse stakeholders," CEO Russ Girling said in a statement.

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While its highest volume operations are along its mainline in Canada and along its Columbia system on the US East Coast, TransCanada has been setting aside billions of dollars to seize opportunities in Mexico. It is involved in several infrastructure projects slated to start up in Mexico over the next few years.

And in the electricity sector, while TransCanada sold its US Northeast merchant power generation business in 2017 to help fund its acquisition of Columbia Pipeline Group, today it still owns or has interests in more than 6,000 MW of power generation in the US and Canada.

At home, beyond recent expansions to boost the flow of pipeline gas from Western Canada to Eastern Canada, the company is moving forward with building a feedgas pipeline to serve the LNG Canada export terminal that is being built in British Columbia.

TransCanada shareholders will be asked to approve the name change at investor meetings in the second quarter. The company's stock ticker symbol will remain the same.

"Going to a more generic name than one that's identified with the country certainly makes sense," Hirs said.

-- Harry Weber,

-- Edited by Richard Rubin,