How Amazon Is Bringing the Keystone XL Pipeline Online

The company behind the controversial tar sands oil pipeline is hosting its digital infrastructure and developing A.I. and automation tools with Amazon Web Services

Steve Horn
OneZero
Published in
5 min readJun 1, 2020

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Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Amazon has cemented a partnership with the company that owns the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, recently announcing that TC Energy is “going all-in” on Amazon Web Services. The Canadian pipeline corporation, formerly known as TransCanada, has “migrated almost 90 percent of its corporate and commercial applications” to Amazon Web Services, according to a May 13th statement from Amazon. TC Energy plans to migrate all of its data to Amazon’s cloud, and AWS has already helped the pipeline company develop a suite of workflow automation, data analytics, and machine learning programs.

“TC Energy is going all-in on the world’s leading cloud, moving its entire infrastructure to AWS,” the AWS release says. “TC Energy is leveraging the breadth and depth of AWS services, including machine learning, analytics, database, serverless, storage, and compute to deliver energy and generate power more efficiently for millions of homes in North America.”

The announcement comes just weeks after TC Energy’s long-contested Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry some of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive oil on the planet from the Alberta tar sands basin to Nebraska, faced a major legal setback when its permit was vacated by a federal judge.

“So Amazon is helping build the Keystone pipeline — as plain an example of climatic destruction and human rights abuse as exists on the planet.”

It also comes amid a time of tumult for Amazon, which has, in recent weeks, faced criticism for its treatment of frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic, and for firing employees calling for more protections. Last year, Amazon tech workers launched a movement calling on CEO Jeff Bezos to adopt a stricter company-wide climate policy and to cancel its contracts with oil and gas companies. Bezos responded by issuing Amazon’s Climate Pledge, which promised to see the company go carbon neutral by 2040…

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Steve Horn
OneZero

San Diego-based freelance investigative journo. Climate beat reporter/producer, The Real News Network. Bylines: The Intercept, The Guardian, AJAM, DeSmog, Etc.