As head of the oil pipeline business at TransCanada at a time when pipelines regularly make headline news, Alex Pourbaix is at the centre of the storm. The president of energy and oil pipelines is responsible for stickhandling the Keystone XL pipeline through the regulatory process as well as the arena of public opinion. He’s also responsible for the $900 million Heartland pipeline that will transport oil from Edmonton to Hardisty, AB, the construction of a 1.9-million-barrel terminal there, a $3 billion partnership with PetroChina to build the Grand Rapids pipeline from Fort McMurray to Edmonton and many other smaller projects that are managing to stay under the radar. Oh yes, then there’s the mother of all plans, the option now being considered to switch portions of TransCanada’s Mainline natural gas pipeline, which reaches into Ontario and Quebec, to oil. That proposal is embraced by oil producers, as it would give an outlet to markets for another 850,000 barrels of crude per day, but opposed by natural gas shippers and distributors, and other interests. Pourbaix’s negotiating skills are sure to be put to the test.