Enbridge reports Straits crossing support issue on Line 5 to State of Michigan

June 20, 2020

UPDATE: June 22, 2020, 2 p.m. ET

Enbridge understands the importance of the Great Lakes to the State and shares the Governor’s and Michiganders’ desires to protect these precious waters, the environment and the people who use the water.

We have been working very closely with our safety regulator, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), to ensure that PHMSA is informed and in a position to assess the safety of the dual Line 5 Straits pipelines.

This includes informing PHMSA of our completion of the Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) inspections of the west leg of the Straits pipelines, which confirmed that the west leg did not exhibit any support anchor damage. The pipeline was also determined to be free from any sign of mechanical damage and safe to operate. After verifying the safe operating condition of the west leg, we discussed with PHMSA our plan to resume normal operations on that line and PHMSA had no objections to this plan.

PHMSA requested that applicable public officials in the area be notified and that the resumption of normal operations on the west leg occur during daylight hours with onsite monitoring for any unexpected developments. We complied with these requests before resuming operation of the west leg Saturday afternoon with monitoring vessels on the water.

With respect to the east leg, Enbridge has completed an engineering analysis of the forces applied to the anchor support, and an evaluation of the entire east pipeline for any potential damage. ROV inspections of the remainder of the east leg have confirmed no damage to the remaining screw anchors and the pipeline itself. To assure transparency and efficiency, we have provided this assessment and an assessment of the west leg to both PHMSA and the State of Michigan. We will continue to provide the State all the information we provide to PHMSA on this matter.

Enbridge leadership and subject matter experts have provided update briefings to the State, and Enbridge CEO Al Monaco has offered to meet with the Governor at any time.

Enbridge will not resume operation on the east leg without further discussion with the State of Michigan and approval from PHMSA.

UPDATE: June 20, 2020, 2:20 p.m. ET

Enbridge on Friday, June 19, 2020, completed its Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) inspection of the west leg of Line 5 in the Straits and confirmed there are no issues or damage to the anchor structures or pipeline on the west leg.

Line 5 in the Straits consists of two 20-inch pipelines, an east leg and a west leg, running parallel to each other for the 4.5 miles across the lakebed.

The issue with the screw anchor assembly observed on Thursday is isolated to the east leg which we will continue to investigate and evaluate over the weekend.

As we have verified that the west leg is not affected, we resumed normal operations on that line today at approximately 2 p.m. Eastern Time. The east leg will remain shut down. Our federal regulator, PHMSA, has no objections to this plan.

Earlier today, Enbridge CEO Al Monaco responded to Governor Whitmer and confirmed that Enbridge is committed to sharing what is learned about the incident with the screw anchor assembly on the east leg with PHMSA and the State of Michigan.

Read the letter from Al Monaco to Gov. Whitmer

June 20, 2020, 11:30 a.m. ET

As part of Enbridge’s seasonal maintenance work on Line 5 in the Straits we have discovered a screw anchor support that has shifted from its original position. This is an issue affecting that anchor support and not the pipeline itself.

The support, installed in 2018, is on the east leg of the pipeline. We immediately shut down the Line as a precaution and are inspecting the area with divers and the entire pipeline with remotely operated vehicles.

We were transparent in notifying the State of Michigan and our federal regulator PHMSA on Thursday, the same day we discovered the damage to the screw anchor support assembly.

We will be providing the information the Governor has requested.