The reversal of Line 9B, a 639-kilometre section of Line 9 from North Westover, Ont., to Montreal which was approved by the National Energy Board (NEB) on March 6, 2014 represents the second and final phase of Enbridge’s Eastern Canadian Refinery Access Initiative.
Enbridge has been operating the Line 9 pipeline – an existing 762-mm (30-inch) diameter pipeline, with a current capacity of approximately 240,000 barrels per day – safely and reliably since 1976. The company’s Eastern Canadian Refinery Access Initiative is expected help to level the playing field for Canadian refineries, safeguard jobs, and bolster the security of Canada’s energy supply at the same time.
Originally flowing eastward, Line 9 was reversed in 1998 as foreign oil from areas such as West Africa and the Middle East became more affordable (Quebec’s two remaining refineries currently process 90% foreign-sourced crude). However, Western Canadian crude is now priced significantly lower than foreign oil, and as a result, Enbridge successfully applied to the NEB in November 2012, to reverse the flow of Line 9 once again.
The Line 9B reversal is considered a critical step in ensuring the future of Quebec’s refining and petrochemical industries, according to an economic paper written by public policy analyst Jean-François Minardi and published by the Montreal Economic Institute in August 2013.
Quebec’s two refineries represent 20 per cent of Canadian capacity, employing about 1,000 workers, while the petrochemical sector in Montreal’s east end employs approximately 3,600 workers, writes Minardi.
The NEB previously approved Enbridge’s standalone application for the reversal of the section known as Line 9A, from Sarnia, Ont., to North Westover, Ont., in July 2012. Project work was completed in November 2013, and that section of Line 9 is now flowing in a reversed direction.
Enbridge filed a project application with the NEB for the section known as Line 9B in November 2012, proposing at the same time to expand the capacity of Line 9 from 240,000 bpd to 300,000 bpd. The NEB gave approved the Line 9B Reversal and Line 9 Capacity Expansion Project on March 6, 2014.
Over the past decade, Enbridge has transported nearly 12 billion barrels of crude oil with a safe delivery record that’s better than 99.999 per cent. We also know that’s not good enough, because our goal – simply, unequivocally – will always be zero incidents.
At Enbridge, we back up our safety priorities by investing heavily in the tools, technologies, and strategies to ensure our energy transportation and distribution systems operate safely, reliably, and in an environmentally responsible manner. In 2012 and 2013 we invested a total of $4.4 billion in programs and initiatives to maintain and further enhance our pipelines and facilities in all parts of our business.
Click here for a more thorough description of Enbridge's dedication to pipeline safety, including the areas of monitoring, prevention, and emergency response.
Answering Your Questions
We are committed to engaging the public in meaningful discussions regarding the Line 9 reversal and capacity expansion. We speak frequently with landowners, municipalities, interested individuals and organizations to provide information and answer questions. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns.
Line 9 Products
What does Line 9 carry? Line 9 will carry mainly light crude oil. However, shippers will be permitted to ship crude oil blends or types that meet quality specifications set by Enbridge, and filed with the National Energy Board. This includes heavy crudes such as diluted bitumen – which has been studied by numerous scientific bodies, including the highly respected and influential National Academy of Sciences, and found to be non-corrosive and safe for pipelines.
At Enbridge, we’ve been transporting crude oil produced from Canada’s oil sands region since 1968. There is nothing new about transporting this form of crude oil – and after nearly half a century, there is no evidence that internal corrosion is caused by transporting oil from the Canadian oil sands. In fact, Enbridge has never experienced an internal corrosion failure on its mainline pipeline system.
Minimizing the Impact
The Line 9 reversal and capacity expansion will use the existing pipeline. No new pipe will be added. Except for some temporary workspace, all work will take place within existing Enbridge properties and rights-of-way.
As part of our successful proposal to expand the capacity of Line 9 from 240,000 bpd to 300,000 bpd, Drag Reducing Agent (DRA), a tested and safe polymer compound found in wool, nylon, and silicone, will be injected into the crude oil along Line 9, allowing oil to flow with less friction. Use of this technology allows for increased capacity with minimal requirement for new infrastructure – which ultimately minimizes the impact to the environment and stakeholders.
Project work will be performed at Sarnia Terminal, North Westover Station, Westover Terminal, Hilton Station, Cardinal Station, Terrebonne Station, and Montreal Terminal. Modification or replacement of existing equipment (including small pumps injecting DRA into the oil flow) and the installation of piping will take place within facility boundaries.