Enbridge's 2.5 km pipeline patch goes under the microscope
The National Energy Board (NEB) has decided it will hold public hearings on Enbridge's proposal to replace a 2.5 km section of the Norman Wells Pipeline in the Northwest Territories (NWT). The company plans to install a new 12 inch pipe under the Mackenzie River using horizontal directional drilling. The existing pipe will be abandoned in place under the river.
The pipeline (also known as Line 21) normally transports 50,000 bbl/day of crude from Imperial Oil's Norman Wells facility to a terminal 870 km away in Zama, Alberta.
The pipeline was shutdown last November due to slope stability issues. The shutdown prompted Imperial to cease operations at Normal Wells earlier this year. The plant normally produces about 11,000 bbl/day.
Since this is a simple replacement project, Enbridge and the Northwest Territory government had hoped a full regulatory review was not required. The line was originally scheduled to return to service in November. It is unclear if Imperial will restart Normal Wells once Line 21 is put back into service. Imperial put the facility up for sale last September.
Five groups have applied for intervenor status, including 3 First Nations communities, Imperial Oil and the NWT government. Enbridge estimates the project will cost $53 million.