The $7.5-billion Line 3 Replacement (L3R) Program is the largest project in Enbridge history, and includes replacing the existing pipe with modern pipe materials utilizing modern construction methods -- resulting in restoration of one of Enbridge's primary pipelines along its Mainline crude oil system.
Under the Line 3 Replacement Program, the majority of the existing Line 3 will be fully replaced with new pipeline and associated facilities on either side of the Canada-U.S. international border. The total length of the pipeline replacement is 1,031 miles (1,660 km).
On the Canadian side of the border, Enbridge Pipelines Inc. has announced plans to undertake an approximately $4.9-billion replacement program for its Line 3 pipeline running between Enbridge’s existing Hardisty Terminal in east-central Alberta and Gretna, Manitoba. Similarly, in the U.S., Enbridge Energy Partners L.P. will undertake an approximately US$2.6-billion replacement program for its Line 3 pipeline running between Neche, North Dakota, and Enbridge's existing Superior Station and Terminal Facility in Superior, Wisconsin.
Collectively, these programs are known as the Line 3 Replacement Program – an important undertaking that will address integrity requirements, improve the reliability and safety of Enbridge’s Mainline system, and restore pipeline capability. The program’s target in-service date is the second half of 2017.
The Line 3 Replacement Program will replace the existing 34-inch-diameter pipeline with a 36-inch-diameter pipeline from Hardisty to Gretna on the Canadian side, and from Neche, N.D., to Superior on the U.S. side. Segments of Line 3 from the Canadian border to Neche, N.D., and near the Minnesota-Wisconsin border to the Superior terminal, are being replaced under separate segment replacement projects.
Testing has determined that the Kingman, Alberta to Strome, Alberta segment of the existing Line 3 pipeline between Edmonton and Hardisty does not need to be replaced at this time. This section would be maintained in accordance with Enbridge's stringent integrity and maintenance plan, and remain in service.
Under the Line 3 Replacement Program, all segments of the line between Hardisty and Superior will be replaced with new pipe using the latest available high-strength steel and coating technology, while the existing segments will be removed from operation.
Replacing the pipeline is the most efficient way to maintain the reliability of Line 3, and it’s also the most timely and reliable transportation solution for transporting Western Canadian crude oil to refinery markets in Chicago, the U.S. Gulf Coast, and the Eastern U.S. and Canada.
Enbridge recently filed the Line 3 Replacement Program Project Description with the National Energy Board (NEB). The Project Description, a public document, provides an overview of the entire project, and can be found on the NEB website. It can also be viewed, downloaded, and/or printed by clicking on the link at the right side of this page.
Over the past decade, Enbridge has transported nearly 13 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
Replacing Line 3 is in the public interest because it reduces both the frequency and the magnitude of ongoing maintenance activities that would otherwise occur in order to maintain the safe operation of Line 3. This means significant benefits to landowners, local communities, and the environment.
Replacing Line 3 is also in the public interest because it would better serve the current and future petroleum requirements of the general public, who are dependent on refineries to meet their refined petroleum product needs.
Listening to you, understanding your views, and working to address your concerns are important to Enbridge. Our team is dedicated to ensuring you have informative materials and are given the opportunity to share your feedback with us. We want to hear from you.
We are planning a variety of consultation activities to give you the opportunity to meet and talk with team members, keep you informed with program updates, and engage our Mainline communities.
Line 3 Products
Line 3 is a “mixed-service” line, meaning it carries a variety of crude oils, including sweets, light and high sours, and light synthetics.
Shippers are permitted to ship crude oil blends or types on Enbridge’s liquids pipelines system that meet stringent 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.
As part of the Line 3 Replacement Program, the existing Line 3 pipeline will be decommissioned.
Decommissioning refers to the permanent cessation of operation, such that the cessation does not result in the discontinuance of service to end-users.
In general terms, the process of decommissioning a pipeline involves: removing the oil from the pipeline segment; flushing the line with cleaning agents; physically disconnecting the line; cutting and capping it where required; continuing to monitor it; and leaving it in place to avoid disturbing farmlands, neighbourhoods, roadways, wetlands, and green spaces with major construction activities.