Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Program Moves Forward

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The oral portion of the National Energy Board’s (NEB) hearings on Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 Replacement Program began on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015 in Winnipeg. The NEB received 16 notices of intent from Aboriginal intervenors to provide oral traditional evidence. The oral portion of these hearings are scheduled to take place in Winnipeg from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, and resume in Calgary from Monday, Dec. 7 through Friday, Dec. 11.

Filings and transactions pertaining to the project, as well as hearing process updates, can be found at the NEB website.

The $7.5-billion Line 3 Replacement Program (L3RP) is the largest project in Enbridge history, and includes replacing the existing pipe with modern pipe materials utilizing modern construction methods — resulting in restoration of one of Enbridge’s primary pipelines along its Mainline crude oil system.

Under the L3RP, the majority of the existing Line 3 will be fully replaced with new pipeline and associated facilities on either side of the Canada-U.S. international border. The total length of the pipeline replacement is 1,031 miles (1,660 km).

On the Canadian side of the border, Enbridge Pipelines Inc. has announced plans to undertake an approximately $4.9-billion replacement program for most of its Line 3 pipeline running between Enbridge’s existing Hardisty Terminal in east-central Alberta and Gretna, Manitoba. Similarly, in the U.S., Enbridge Energy Partners L.P. will undertake an approximately US$2.6-billion replacement program for its Line 3 pipeline running between Neche, North Dakota, and Enbridge’s existing Superior Station and Terminal Facility in Superior, Wisconsin.

Collectively, these programs are known as the Line 3 Replacement Program – an important undertaking that will address integrity requirements, improve the reliability and safety of Enbridge’s Mainline system, and restore pipeline capability. The program’s target in-service date is the second half of 2017.

The L3RP will replace the existing 34-inch-diameter pipeline with a 36-inch-diameter pipeline from Hardisty to Gretna on the Canadian side, and from Neche, N.D., to Superior on the U.S. side. Segments of Line 3 outside of Cromer, Man., from the Canadian border to Neche, N.D., and near the Minnesota-Wisconsin border to the Superior terminal, are being replaced under separate segment replacement projects.

Under the L3RP, all segments of the line between Hardisty and Superior will be replaced with new pipe using the latest available high-strength steel and coating technology, while the existing segments will be removed from operation.

Replacing the pipeline is the most efficient way to maintain the reliability of Line 3, and it’s also the most timely and reliable transportation solution for transporting Western Canadian crude oil to refinery markets in Chicago, the U.S. Gulf Coast, and the Eastern U.S. and Canada.

Enbridge filed the L3RP regulatory application with the National Energy Board (NEB) on Nov. 6, 2014, and filed its Project Description in July 2014. These are public documents, and can be found on the NEB website.