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Enbridge seeks 760,000 bpd pipeline to Lake Superior

Enbridge has announced that it intends to increase shipments on its 1,660 kilometre-long Line 3 pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, which is situated on the western tip of Lake Superior.

While the media spin is that Enbridge is simply replacing the existing 46-year-old Line 3 using improved steel and coating, the reality is this will allow them to increase the barrels per day shipped through the pipeline from the current 390,000 bpd to 760,000 bpd.

Enbridge hopes this ‘upgrade’ will mean that it can avoid seeking a new presidential permit for the increased capacity given the delays the company has experienced seeking a similar permit to increase the flow of its Alberta Clipper pipeline to 880,000 barrels per day.

Enbridge CEO Al Monaco claims, “Line 3 already operates under an existing presidential permit. What we’re doing here is restoring Line 3 to its original condition, so there’s no permit required.”

The Toronto Star reports, “Line 3 has been operating since 1968. It carries a variety of crude oils, including diluted bitumen from the oil sands. The project involves replacing the existing 34-inch pipeline with a 36-inch pipe, along the existing right of way. …The new line will also require 21 additional pump stations along the way.”

Still, the Line 3 replacement will require approvals from the National Energy Board and the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The newspaper adds, “The company has started a program of consulting landowners, aboriginal groups and municipalities along the pipeline route.” The communities it passes include Kerrobert, Glenavon and Regina in Saskatchewan, Cromer and Gretna in Manitoba, and Clearbrook in Minnesota. In 2007, Line 3 ruptured and spilled 1,000 cubic metres of crude into a wetland near Glenavon.

Regulatory applications will be submitted late this year, and the company hopes to be sending 760,000 barrels per day through Line 3 by late-2017.

Doug Hayes from Sierra Club US and Andy Pearson from MN350 have already publicly expressed their opposition to this Line 3 project. The Council of Canadians joins with these organizations and others in expressing opposition to this proposed 760,000 bpd pipeline.