Do you know the connection between computers, crayons and Line 5?

Crayons on a keyboard

Straits pipeline critical to remote work, education

Sept. 15, 2021

As students “return to learn” across Michigan, and thousands of people continue to work from home, many throughout the region would be surprised to know ingredients for manufacturing a variety of the resources essential in today’s world come through the Straits of Mackinac.

The crayons and markers that help create those refrigerator-worthy pieces of art, along with phones, laptops, desks, chairs, and microphones, have a common denominator—the byproducts of natural gas liquids help make them.

The natural gas liquids transported through Enbridge’s Line 5 in the Straits produce the butane, ethane and propane critical to manufacturing thousands of products, including those used every day by students and employees alike.

“With the majority of schools and many employers turning to remote accommodations during COVID, the need for computers, pens, mobile phones, and masks has increased,” said Bob Lehto, Enbridge’s operations manager for northern Michigan.

“These products and others—including eyeglasses, backpacks, gloves, medicines, vaccinations, shoes, and even clothing—are examples of the many items product from Line 5 helps make possible.”

Enbridge’s Line 5 transports safely each day these natural gas liquids, along with light crude oil. Area refineries in Michigan and four other states, as well as Canada’s two largest provinces, depend on the light crude oil to create the transportation fuel for ground and air transport that keep the supply chain moving.

“People might recognize Line 5 as essential for providing safely and reliably the propane that heats homes and businesses for half of Michigan, though rarely do most recognize the role Line 5 plays beyond that,” Lehto continued. “The next time someone drives, turns on the laptop, orders online, watches television, makes a call, or puts on a helmet and knee pads, know that Line 5 helped make it possible.”

Fully cognizant of the vital role Line 5 plays across the region for individuals, families, schools and businesses, Enbridge is investing $500 million to build the Great Lakes Tunnel deep below the lakebed of the Straits.  The Great Lakes Tunnel will house a replacement section of Line 5, increasing environmental protection while continuing to enable the region to receive the energy and products on which they rely.