The proposed reversal of Line 9B, a 639-kilometre section of Line 9 from North Westover, Ont., to Montreal, 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 has made a regulatory application to the National Energy Board (NEB) to reverse the flow of Line 9 once again.
The proposed 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 late August.
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 had 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.
Enbridge filed a project application with the NEB for section known as Line 9B in November 2012, proposing at the same time to expand the capacity of Line 9B from 240,000 bpd to 300,000 bpd. The NEB judged the application complete in December 2012, and has set oral final argument hearings for Line 9B in October 2013 in Montreal (Oct. 8 to 11) and Toronto (Oct. 16 to 19). A final decision from the NEB is expected in January 2014.
Enbridge delivered its final argument with respect to the proposed Line 9B Reversal and Line 9 Capacity Expansion Project on Oct. 9 in Montreal. Please click here to read the transcript.
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 pipeline safety and maintenance initiatives. In 2012, we spent more than $800 million to ensure the safety of our pipeline system – with a pipeline integrity program that ensures our pipelines are inspected, both physically and visually, for safety and reliability. We doubled the number of staff dedicated to leak detection and pipeline control systems, and we substantially strengthened our focus on the tools, technologies, and strategies necessary to ensure the fitness of our pipelines.
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 continue to engage the public in meaningful discussions regarding the proposed Line 9 reversal. We’ve engaged with more than 2,600 stakeholders on this project. We’ve held six community open houses in Quebec, and 20 more in Ontario, along the Line 9B right-of-way. We speak frequently with individuals and organizations to provide information and answer questions, and since early 2013, we’ve responded to more than 200 questions from nearly 40 different stakeholders.
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 proposed Line 9 reversal project will use the existing pipeline. No new pipe will be added to complete the reversal and capacity expansion. Except for some temporary workspace, all work will take place within existing Enbridge properties and rights-of-way.
As part of our Line 9B capacity-expansion proposal, 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.