Enbridge reaches agreement on path forward in Michigan State
Enbridge says it has reached an understanding with the State of Michigan over the future of Line 5, a 64-year old pipeline that carries 540,000 bbl/day of light crude and NGLs about 1,000 km from Superior, WI through Michigan and into a terminal in Sarnia, ON.
At issue is a pair of 20-inch pipelines that cross under the Straits of Mackinac, a narrow waterway that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The state has flagged concerns over the pipeline, questioning whether the line is still fit for service after six-decades of use.
Enbridge says it has completed numerous technical studies, both internally and externally, confirming that the pipeline is still in good shape. The line operates at less than 25% of its maximum rated pressure.
Enbridge faces a high level of scrutiny in Michigan after its Line 6B spilled about 24,000 barrels of diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo River in the summer of 2010. In an effort to restore public confidence, the company has agreed to seven new conditions, which include:
- evaluating several options to replace the segments of pipe
- evaluate additional underwater technologies that can be used for pipe monitoring
- shutting the line down during adverse weather conditions, and
- increase collaboration and data sharing with state representatives.
Enbridge says it acknowledges it still has work to do to regain the trust of Michigan's state leaders and its residents.