NEB recommends approval of Enbridge's Line 3 Replacement with 89 conditions
The National Energy Board (NEB) announced today it recommends approval of Enbridge's Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Program, subject to the company meeting 89 conditions. The NEB noted in its decision that the project will replace an aging pipeline with a new pipeline constructed to modern standards, therefore making the system safer.
Enbridge applied to replace 1,067 kilometres of the 40 year old line with 1,096 kilometres of new piping. Line 3 carries a mix of light, heavy and synthetic crude from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. The new line includes 55 remotely actuated valves, 18 pump stations and 3 new storage tanks.
The pipe diameter will be increased from 34 to 36 inches. Currently capacity on the system is reduced 390,000 bbl/day due of voluntary pressure restrictions. The new Line 3 will allow Enbridge to run the pipeline at its maximum capacity of 760,000 bbl/day.
The old pipeline will be left in place. Enbridge will be responsible for decommissioned the line, including removal of oil, disconnecting the sections of pipe and on-going monitoring.
The $7.5-billion Line 3 Replacement is Enbridge's largest endeavour ever. The Canadian section will cost $4.9 billion. The US section of the line will cost US$2.6 billion, to be undertaken by US subsidiary Enbridge Energy Partners.
The NEB ruling only applies to the segment of piping on the Canadian side of the border. Despite being a cross-border project, Line 3 does not require presidential approval since the line is already in existence and Enbridge is restoring the system to its original capacity.
Enbridge is Canada's largest oil exporter, shipping an estimated 2 million bbl/day to the US.
As required by federal law, the NEB submits its recommendations to the Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr. The federal government’s Interim Measures for Pipeline Reviews will apply to this project (along with TransCanada's Energy East and Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion). Carr says he will engage with indigenous peoples along pipeline route and seek additional public input before making a final decision sometime in the fall of 2016.
The anticipated in-service date is 2019, subject to Canadian and US approvals.