Line 3 Replacement Program Update
The oral portion of the National Energy Board’s (NEB) hearings on Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 Replacement Program began on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015 in Winnipeg. The NEB received 16 notices of intent from Aboriginal intervenors to provide oral traditional evidence. The oral portion of these hearings are scheduled to take place in Winnipeg from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, and resume in Calgary from Monday, Dec. 7 through Friday, Dec. 11.
Filings and transactions pertaining to the project, as well as hearing process updates, can be found at the NEB website.
The $7.5-billion Line 3 Replacement Program (L3RP) 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 L3RP, 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 most of 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 L3RP 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 outside of Cromer, Man., 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.
Under the L3RP, 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 filed the L3RP regulatory application with the National Energy Board (NEB) on Nov. 6, 2014, and filed its Project Description in July 2014. These are public documents, and can be found on the NEB website. The Project Description can also be viewed, downloaded, and/or printed by clicking on the link at the right side of this page.
As part of the L3RP, the existing Line 3 pipeline will be decommissioned -- and Enbridge will be responsible for the decommissioned line forever.
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; cleaning the pipeline; physically disconnecting the pipeline; segmenting the pipeline and continuing to monitor it.
Please click on the link at the right side of this page for an illustrated overview of the decommissioning process, or visit our L3RP Decommissioning webpage.
Over the past decade, Enbridge has transported nearly 14 billion barrels of crude oil with a safe delivery record that’s better than 99.999 per cent. We 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-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 have hosted a variety of consultation activities throughout the 2014 calendar year. We are committed to continuing to give you the opportunity to meet and talk with team members, keep you informed with program updates, and engage our Mainline communities. Please see our Community Outreach section for information on how to contact us.
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.