The InsideClimate News investigation comes amid news that President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.
The railway would be a 50-50 partnership with aboriginal groups. It would require loan guarantees, from the federal, Alberta and Alaska governments, and private sector equity partners.
Barring that, TransCanada would like a lot of money.
As with most oil companies, 2015 has been a rough year for Royal Dutch Shell. Then Anglo-Dutch company reported a third quarter loss of $6 billion, which included $7.9 billion in impairment charges.
TransCanada, the owner of the recently-nixed northern leg of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, has won a bid from Mexico's government to build a 155-mile pipeline carrying gas from hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in the United States to Mexico's electricity grid.