On Tuesday, it announced a deal to allow Natural Law Energy, which represents four First Nations in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan, to invest up to $1 billion in Keystone XL, an agreement that is similar to potential deals being negotiated with Native groups, Wirzba said.
The company has constructed about 124 miles of pipeline since the project was approved last March, including the border crossing, and has begun construction of 17 pump stations in the states it traverses and Alberta, he reported.
The company plans to ramp up construction in the first quarter of 2021 to take the construction work force from about 3,000 now to as many as 15,000 people, CEO Russ Girling said.
The Natural Law Energy investment depends on the group securing financing and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021, TC Energy said. The agreement also allows the group to pursue interests in future projects related to the pipeline.
The five First Nations include the Nekaneet First Nation in Saskatchewan and the Ermineskin Cree Nation, Montana First Nation, Louis Bull Tribe and Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta.
Photos: The Keystone XL saga
Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall, Lindsey Halvorson
Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall, left, with 350 DC, and Lindsey Halvorson, 20, a student at American University, gather up signs Feb. 24, 2015, after attending a demonstration outside the White House in support of President Barack Obama vetoing the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Ranchers, farmers, Native Americans join environmentalists to protest the Keystone XL pipeline in Washington
In Washington, D.C., in April 2014, rock star Neil Young (third from left) joins the protest of the Keystone XL pipeline, with Nebraska ranchers and farmers Diana Steskal (second from left) of Atkinson; Art Tanderup (center) of Neligh; and Mike Blocher (third from right) of Antelope County; and Bryan Brewer (second from right), president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, S.D.; and Chief Horse Looking (far right) of Rosebud, S.D.
Ron Bouska and Bold Nebraska founder Jane Kleeb examine maps related to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline as they and others combed through the collection of Gov. Dave Heineman's papers on Aug. 25, 2015, at the Nebraska State Historical Library and Museum.
Anti Pipeline Concert
Spectators attend the "Harvest the Hope" concert in Neligh, headlining Neil Young and Willie Nelson, on Sept. 27, 2014. The concert was organized to raise money for efforts to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline.
Lead plaintiffs Susan and Bill Dunavan stand with Bold Nebraska's Jane Kleeb (right) in a courtroom in York in February 2015.
Keystone XL arrest
Nebraska cattleman Randy Thompson (right) is arrested in February 2013 at a Keystone XL pipeline protest.
Anti-pipline group challenges Keystone eminent domain
A group of people fighting the Keystone XL pipeline posed for a photo July 27, 2015, outside ,the Holt County Courthouse.
Keystone XL hearing
Omaha attorney Dave Domina addresses York County District Court Judge Mary Gilbride during a Feb. 26, 2015, hearing before she granted a temporary injunction pausing TransCanada's condemnation proceedings against landowners in the path of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Susan Dunavan (left), Suz Straka and Randy Thompson outside the Nebraska Supreme Courtroom on Sept. 5, 2014. They are the landowners who filed the lawsuit against the pipeline bill being considered.
Keystone Pipeline Opposition
“I don’t even feel like I live in the United States any more,” farmer and cattleman Terry Van Housen said, after pipeline company TransCanada filed eminent domain proceedings to get remaining easements it needs to build the Keystone XL pipeline. Van Housen's land outside of Stromsburg is part of the planned route.
The Cowboy Indian Alliance has planted sacred Ponca corn in an effort to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline near Neligh.
Willie Nelson, Neil Young
Willie Nelson and Neil Young laugh after performing the folk song "This Land is Your Land" during the Bold Nebraska Harvest the Hope concert on Sept. 27, 2014. The event was held on a farm directly on the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline, which also crosses the historic Ponca Tribe Trail of Tears.
TransCanada Steele City pumping station
Glen Rempe (on platform), a TransCanada pipeline technician, explains the function of the Steele City pumping station for the Keystone XL pipeline to a tour group in September 2014.
At right, Ken Winston of the Sierra Club claps Sept. 4, 2014, after attorney Dave Domina spoke at the news conference opposing the Keystone XL pipeline.
Marchers trekking across the country from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., on the Great March for Climate Action reached the wind- and solar-powered barn in July 2014 built by Bold Nebraska in the path of the Keystone XL pipeline on Saturday.
Keystone pipeline protest
People walk among teepees set up on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on April 21, 2014. The Cowboy and Indian Alliance, a group of ranchers, farmers and indigenous leaders, hosted the encampment all week to protest the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
Opponents carve anti-pipeline message into field
This huge crop art image, pictured in April 2014, lies on the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Keystone XL Pipeline Protest
Demonstrators who strapped themselves to the White House fence in March 2014 chant during a protest against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
MSNBC news host Ed Schultz stops to talk with Keystone XL pipeline opponents outside of Bold Nebraska's Build Our Energy Barn near Bradshaw in February 2014.
Build Our Energy Barn
Bold Nebraska Energy Director Ben Gotschall positions Keystone XL pipeline opponents in preparation for the arrival of MSNBC news host Ed Schultz at the Build Our Energy Barn.
An activist dressed as a polar bear participates in a protest vigil in Lafayette Park across from the White House in February 2014, urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
Keystone XL Pipeline Construction
The TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline under construction east of Winona, Texas, in January 2014.
Keystone XL pipeline protest
Patricia Fuller (left) of Council Bluffs and Deirdre Evans of Omaha protest the Keystone XL pipeline Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, outside the Justice and Law Enforcement Center.
Keystone XL pipeline opponents
Randy Thompson (right) addresses a collection of pipeline opponents March 12, 2013, at a meeting at Thompson's home in Martell.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper takes part in a discussion with the Canadian American Business Council in New York, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. Harper said he "won't take no for an answer" if the Obama administration rejects the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Ambient light and noise from the Keystone XL pipeline could harm national resources, wildlife and visitors to parks, including the Niobrara National Scenic River in northern Nebraska, pictured here in 2010, the Interior Department says.
Keystone XL old route
In this 2010 file photo, Dennis and Teri Taylor stand in a pasture near where the proposed Keystone XL pipeline's original route would have cut through their ranch near Stuart.
Keystone XL route security
A wooden stick with a pink ribbon marks the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline through farmland near Bradshaw on March 11, 2013.
State Department officials
Teresa Hobgood (top left), presiding official from the U.S. State Department, and assistant presiding official Patrick Hudak listen to a pipeline opponent speak during the State Department-sponsored hearings on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline April 18 at the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island.
Keystone XL pipeline supporter Roma Amundson of Lincoln speaks during the U.S. State Department-sponsored hearings on the project Thursday, April 18, 2013, at the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island.
Pipeline opponents raise their arm bands to silently speak out against a person speaking during the U.S. State Department-sponsored hearings on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline Thursday, April 18, 2013, at the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island.
Several thousand people gathered on the National Mall for the "Forward on Climate" rally in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 17, 2013, to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline and demonstrate for other causes.
Brothers Christopher and Ben Gotschall, whose family land near Atkinson lay along the original proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline, attend a pipeline protest Feb. 18, 2013, in Washington.
Abbi Kleinschmidt and others march in Washington in opposition of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
Julian Bond, Michael Brune
Civil rights protester Julian Bond, left, and Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, second from left, gather with activists in front of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, as prominent environmental leaders tied themselves to the White House gate to protest the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Actress Daryl Hannah is arrested outside the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, as prominent environmental leaders tied themselves to the White House gate to protest the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Native, pipeline protest
Protesters from Idle No More, a Native social justice movement, and Bold Nebraska join together in a round dance at the Capitol on Monday Jan. 28, 2013, at the conclusion of a demonstration. They were protesting Gov. Dave Heineman's decision to approve a route for the Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska and showing support for indigenous rights.
Keystone XL Pipeline
Workers use heavy machinery to install sections of the Keystone XL pipeline south of Cushing, Okla., Jan. 15, 2013.
The "Grinch" showed up outside the Governor's residence Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, to urge him to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route.
Framed in a side-view mirror, Rick Hammond (left) of Clarks and Ken Ilgunas of Niagara Falls, N.Y., walk along a gravel road west of McCool Junction on the chilly morning of Dec. 11, 2012.
A standing-room-only crowd filled the public hearing area to give testimony or listen to the comments both for and against the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, at the Boone County Fairgrounds.
Ogalala Lakota Nation vice president Tom Poor Bear of Wanblee, S.D., gives testimony on the Keystone XL pipeline during a public hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, at the Boone County Fairgrounds. Poor Bear was one of 164 people who signed up to speak at the public hearing.
Pipeline special session
Speaker Mike Flood of Norfolk announces that TransCanada has agreed to voluntarily move the Keystone XL pipeline project away from the Sandhills on the floor of the Legislature in November 2011.
Pipeline protest Nov. 12
A crowd gathers in Lincoln's Cooper Park on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, to rally against the Keystone XL pipeline.
Washington Pipeline Protest
Demonstrators march with a replica of a pipeline during a protest against the Keystone XL Pipeline outside the White House on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, in Washington.
Keystone XL pipeline
This Sept. 19, 2011, aerial photo shows a tar sands tailings pond at a mine facility near Alberta, Canada. Transcanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline was to snake 1,700 miles from Canada to refineries in Texas.
Keystone XL meeting
Alex Pourbaix, president of TransCanada Corp.'s energy and oil pipelines, speaks to reporters in Norfolk on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. Pourbaix met with state senators including Chris Langemeier (second from left), Speaker Mike Flood and Annette Dubas to discuss the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline through the state.
Four state senators and two TransCanada representatives met for four hours in October 2011 in Norfolk to discuss issues and share information about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Shown here (clockwise from top) are Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk, Sen. Chris Langemeier of Schuyler, Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton, Sen. Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids (back to camera), Robert Jones, a TransCanada vice president, and Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada president of energy and oil pipelines.
Keystone XL pipeline public meeting
Opponents and supporters attend the U.S. State Department's public hearing on TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline project at Lincoln's Pershing Center in 2011.
Keystone XL pipeline public meeting
Cody Butler from Fremont and Matthew Theis from Lincoln bring their own brand of protest to the street outside the Pershing Center in advance of a public meeting on the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline project in 2011.
Keystone XL pipeline
One of two tractor-trailers parked outside Pershing Center on Monday, Sept., 26, 2011, displays support for TransCanada and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Keystone XL pipeline protest
Wearing T-shirts in support of Nebraska farmer Randy Thompson, protesters (left to right) Jane Wilson of Omaha, Lori Fischer of Shelby, Nancy Packard of Lincoln and Mark Wolberg of Lincoln gather outside the White House on Aug. 22, 2011. Members of Bold Nebraska, a group founded by Jane Kleeb, were among the main opponents of the proposal to run the Keystond XL pipeline through the Nebraska Sandhills.
Keystone XL pipeline protesters
About 300 people stood outside the Governor's Mansion on Friday night, Aug. 5, 2011, to express their displeasure with the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
Stand with Randy
Poster of Randy Thompson in the window of Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. Thompson is a landowner in Merrick County, Nebraska, who wants to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.
Pipeline Protest Montana
Protesters climb the flagpoles outside of the Capitol in Helena, Mont., Tuesday, July 12, 2011 to hang a sign. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer met with roughly 70 pipeline protesters who occupied his office Tuesday and demanded he renounce his support for the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Keystone XL pipeline
Ailani Segura holds a sign in front of the west side of the Capitol in January 2011 as she attended a protest against the proposed Transcanada Keystone XL pipeline with her mother April Segura.
This 2015 photo shows the Keystone Steele City pumping station, into which the Keystone XL pipeline was to connect.
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