Line 21 (Norman Wells Pipeline)



Enbridge operates Line 21 (the Norman Wells Pipeline), which carries crude oil 870 kilometres (540 miles) from Norman Wells, Northwest Territories to Zama, Alberta, where it enters a third-party pipeline system and is sent on to Edmonton.

The 12-inch-diameter pipeline travels approximately 750 km (466 miles) through the Northwest Territories, with a design capacity of 50,000 barrels per day. Enbridge pipeline assets in the Northwest Territories include pump stations and related facilities at Norman Wells, Wrigley, and Mackenzie.

The pipeline has been in operation since 1985. Enbridge carries out operational and maintenance activities under a land use permit from the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board (MVLWB).

Meet some of Enbridge's team members working on Line 21.

Segment Replacement Project (2016-2018)

In November 2016, as a precautionary measure, Enbridge shut down Line 21 to investigate and address slope instability near the Mackenzie River crossing approximately 10 km east of Fort Simpson. At that time, product was safely removed, or purged, from the segment of Line 21 that crosses the Mackenzie River and re-injected into the pipeline downstream of the river crossing.

In 2017, Enbridge applied to the National Energy Board (NEB), now the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), to replace a 2.5 km segment of the pipeline. Following an extensive regulatory hearing, in January 2018 the NEB approved the Application to complete the Line 21 Segment Replacement Project subject to 19 conditions. As part of those conditions, Enbridge is committed to 7 years of post-construction environmental monitoring.

For more information, please view our project completion factsheet.

Little Smith Creek Maintenance Project (2018-2021)

Line 21 runs parallel to Little Smith Creek, an irregular meandering stream located approximately 67 km southeast of the Hamlet of Tulita.  This area has been monitored for slope movement since 1985.

Recent engineering assessments determined slope movement in the Little Smith Creek area near KP 158 due to erosion. To avoid any potential future impact to Line 21 from the encroaching bank of the creek, Enbridge will replace an approximately 500-metre segment of Line 21 by Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), with the old segment being removed.

In early 2020, Enbridge applied to the Sahtu Land and Water Board (SLWB) and submitted an Operations and Maintenance regulatory notification to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER). Regulatory approvals to proceed were granted in the fall 2020.

Construction of the project commenced in January 2021 and was completed in March 2021. Please read the project completion bulletin to learn more about how the project was executed safely.

Check out our Spring 2021 regional newsletter.


Project Information:

Line 21 Segment Replacement Project

On January 25, 2018, the NEB (now CER) approved the Line 21 Segment Replacement Project subject to 19 conditions. The NEB also approved Enbridge’s application to decommission the segment of pipeline being replaced by the Project.

Enbridge's Line 21 application and associated regulatory filings can be viewed and downloaded directly from the NEB’s website. The NEB’s Reasons for Decision, including a listing of its conditions for approval can be found here.

The Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board issued the Segment Replacement Project a Land Use Permit on February 2, 2018. The GNWT Minister of Environment and Natural Resources approved the project’s Water Licence on March 9, 2018.

The Land Use Permit can be found here, and the Water License and MVLWB Reasons for Decision can be found here.

Little Smith Creek Maintenance Project

In September 2020, the Sahtu Land and Water Board, in accordance with the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act granted a Land Use Permit and water license to conduct activities in support of the Little Smith Creek Maintenance Project. The Land Use Permit application can be viewed here. The issuance letter can be viewed here.

Enbridge also submitted an Operations and Maintenance notification to the CER, which can be viewed here.