Enbridge gets its preferred route for Line 3 replacement in Minnesota
Regulators in Minnesota unanimously approved Enbridge's Line 3 Replacement Project, granting a Certificate of Need and allowing the company to commence construction through the state.
All five members of the state's Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved the $9 billion replacement project with conditions. Three out of five commissioners sided with Enbridge's preferred routing with minor modifications, dismissing a recommendation from the state's Administrative Law Judge that the new Line 3 should follow the exact routing as the existing line. Approval of Enbridge's preferred route is a big win for the company since a replacement in kind would have required an extended shutdown and further delayed the in-service date.
Enbridge is sticking to its original cost estimate of US$2.9 billion for work to be completed south of the border. The new line is expected to come into service by the end of next year. The company says it has already spent $3.6 billion to date. Adding the $5.3 billion required to complete the Canadian segment of the line, this will be Enbridge's largest project in its history.
The company already has approvals in hand for the Canadian portion and segments that run through Wisconsin and North Dakota.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton also stressed that the project still needs 29 additional permits from local, state and federal levels of government. Opponents still have 20 days to ask the commissioners to reconsider their decision.
Once completed, capacity will be restored to 760,000 bbl/day, adding another 370,000 bbl/day of export capacity out of Alberta, into the Midwest region and ultimately connecting to more lucrative markets in the Gulf Coast.
Enbridge and its US-subsidiary Enbridge Energy Partners say the project has already been accounted for its spending program, and there will be no material change to its corporate guidance or financial outlook.
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