Line 3 Replacement Program (Canada)

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What is Line 3 and what does it transport?

Line 3 is a 34-inch-diameter, 1,600-kilometer (994-mile) pipeline between Edmonton, Alberta and Superior, Wisconsin. In service since 1968, Line 3 shares a right-of-way with up to five active pipelines along this route, all of which make up Enbridge’s Mainline system. Line 3’s original design throughput capacity is 760,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Since its construction, Line 3 has been used to transport a variety of oils including light, medium and heavy crudes.

In 2010, we voluntarily reduced pressure on Line 3 to ensure its continued safe and reliable operation. Capacity was reduced by almost half, to 390,000 bpd, and Enbridge restricted the product being moved through the line to light crude only. Safety is our number one priority and, as such, Enbridge takes a cautious approach to operating our system.

Why are you proposing to replace Line 3, and why now?

Replacing Line 3 with brand new pipe will reduce the frequency and magnitude of maintenance activities that would otherwise occur to maintain safe operations. Replacement will minimize disturbance from these activities to landowners, local communities, and the environment. The new Line 3 will comprise the newest and most advanced pipeline technology—and provide much needed incremental capacity to support Canadian crude oil production growth, and U.S. and Canadian refinery demand.

Under the proposed Line 3 Replacement Program (L3RP), the majority of Line 3 will be fully replaced with new pipeline and associated facilities on either side of the Canada-U.S. border. The total length of the pipeline replacement is 1,031 miles (1,660 km).

In Canada, Enbridge plans to undertake an approximately C$5.3-billion replacement program for most of Line 3, between Enbridge’s Hardisty Terminal in east-central Alberta and Gretna, Manitoba.

In the U.S., Enbridge Energy Partners L.P. will undertake an approximately US$2.9-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.

Line 3 is the timeliest and most reliable transportation solution for transporting Western Canadian crude oil to refineries in Chicago, the U.S. Gulf Coast, and the Eastern U.S. and Canada. Replacing this line is the most efficient way to maintain its reliability.

Are Indigenous groups and communities being consulted?

Our Indigenous engagement program for the L3RP is the most extensive consultation in Enbridge’s history. To date, we’ve met with more than 150 Indigenous groups and communities—some of whom have Reserve lands as far as 300 km from the Line 3 right-of-way.

As one example, in May 2015, we approached the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) seeking their support to initiate collaboration through an Elders Advisory Council with respect to the Manitoba region of the Project. In November 2015, Enbridge attended a ceremony to listen to the traditional knowledge of Elders of AMC member communities. Enbridge remains committed to meaningful engagement with Indigenous groups and communities. We have been engaging in respectful dialogue for the past two years on this project, and we intend to continue that into the future.

Our Indigenous engagement program has and will continue to involve a number of activities including: mailing out letters and project information materials, face-to-face meetings and follow-up activities for any identified interests or concerns.

Which government agencies are reviewing your project in Canada? Will there be any hearings?

The National Energy Board (NEB) is the regulatory body responsible for pipelines that cross provincial and international borders in Canada.

The NEB’s website outlines the process used to review our application.

The oral portion of the National Energy Board’s (NEB) hearings on Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 Replacement Program began on Nov. 30, 2015 in Winnipeg, and concluded on Dec. 14, 2015 in Calgary. The NEB received 16 notices of intent from Indigenous intervenors to provide oral traditional evidence. Filings and transactions pertaining to the project, as well as hearing process updates, can be found at the NEB website.

On April 25, 2016, the NEB concluded that the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Program (Project) is in the Canadian public interest and recommended Project approval to the federal Governor in Council.

Filings and transactions pertaining to the project, as well as hearing process information, can be found on the NEB website.

Talking to Indigenous groups and communities is one thing. How are you creating meaningful opportunities for communities to benefit from your Project?

Enbridge is committed to providing training and employment to members of Indigenous communities, and creating meaningful opportunities for Indigenous businesses.

Since 2009, we have spent over $200 million on contracting with Indigenous owned businesses and invested nearly $8 million in Indigenous community projects. In 2015, we spent more than $63 million on procuring goods and services from Indigenous businesses, contractors and suppliers in Canada.

In addition, we are also exploring a number of economic opportunities involving Indigenous groups and communities in environmental stewardship as well as innovative economic partnership opportunities and other long-term agreements outlining our commitment to engagement.

Enbridge recently launched the L3RP Aboriginal Training Program in two Saskatchewan communities that provides trainees with essential skills in construction and heavy-equipment operation. Through various Pipeline 101 and Heavy Equipment Operator training sessions in 2015 and 2015, the L3RP Aboriginal Training Program saw 125 students successfully complete their training.

The pilot will be used as a base for the development of a comprehensive, long-term training initiative.

Is Enbridge consulting with communities, landowners and other potentially affected people?

Enbridge's L3RP engagement program has been robust and inclusive of more than 100 communities along the Enbridge mainline system right-of-way. To date, we've participated in more than 50,000 engagement activitiesincluding community meetings, phone calls, Coffee Talks, e-mails, Open Houses and other consultation activities—regarding the L3RP.

  • Project information about Line 3 has been distributed in over 175 face-to-face meetings and community drop-ins.
  • Enbridge has distributed over 250 mail-outs containing project information.
  • Over 520 phone calls, emails and text messages have been delivered.
  • In 2014, Enbridge engaged with 2,819 stakeholders (2,558 landowners, 150 different Indigenous groups, 145 special interest groups, 83 municipalities, and 33 provincial and federal representatives).

What are the economic benefits for replacing Line 3?

The L3RP will be one of North America’s largest infrastructure programs, and replacing the pipeline will require thousands of jobs, generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues, and contribute billions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of both Canada and the U.S. via direct, indirect and induced benefits.

Over the approximately three years it will take to replace Line 3, approximately 44,400 temporary full-time equivalent jobs will be required:

  • 24,275 direct jobs in Canada and the US
  • 10,958 indirect jobs in Canada and the US
  • 9,183 induced jobs in Canada and the US

Economic modelling predicts that the project will result in estimated tax revenues of about $514 million to Canadian federal and provincial governments, and $300 million to U.S. federal and state governments during the construction phase. The L3RP will contribute $2.9 billion of GDP generated in Canada and a further $1.2 billion generated in the U.S. over the design and construction phases.

Are you shifting Line 3 from a light oil pipeline to a tar sands pipeline?

Line 3 is one of several pipelines that form Enbridge’s mainline system corridor that carries a number of products including light, medium and heavy oil from Canada to points in the U.S.

Line 3 was originally put into service in 1968 as a mixed service line transporting light, medium and heavy oils. Safety is our number one priority and, as such, Enbridge takes a cautious approach to operating our system. In 2010, we voluntarily reduced pressure on the line to ensure its continued safe and reliable operation. This resulted in:

  • Reducing the capacity of the line by almost half—to 390,000 bpd from 760,000 bpd.
  • Restricting the product being moved through Line 3 to light crude only.

These were safety measures initiated proactively by Enbridge. If approved, and when complete, replacing Line 3 will allow us to safely and efficiently restore the original capacity of the line and restore the original mix of oils we transported through the line. 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.

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 oiland 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 our Mainline pipeline system.

If you have a question on the Line 3 Replacement Project that isn’t answered here, please send an email to or call our toll-free line at 1-888-967-3899 (please leave your contact information).