Line 3 replacement pipeline enters service in Canada

First oil to be shipped in December following largest project in Enbridge history

Landowners. Municipalities. First Nations and Métis people. Regulators. Elected officials. Construction contractors. Unions. Chambers of commerce. Goods and services providers. Customers seeking to ship their products to market safely and reliably.

It’s taken support from all of these groups to get the Enbridge Line 3 replacement pipeline (L3RP) built in Canada.

So says Leo Golden, Vice President, Line 3 Project Execution, as the new, 36-inch-diameter, Canadian-made pipeline is being put into service for the first time in December.

“We are truly grateful and humbled by the tremendous support we’ve received across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for this project over these past six years,” says Golden. “Without that support and collaborative mindset, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

The new pipeline stretches 1,070 kilometres (665 miles) from Hardisty, Alberta to Gretna, Manitoba. It will run at approximately half of its rated capacity, some 400,000 barrels per day, until the Minnesota portion receives final approval, is constructed and brought onstream.

At an estimated cost of $5.3 billion, it represents the largest stakeholder engagement undertaking in Enbridge’s 70-year history in western Canada.

First announced in July 2013, Enbridge has since recorded more than 30,000 engagement activities with interested parties. In addition, project land agents have conducted more than 31,000 landowner outreaches, garnering the support of all 1,087 right-of-way landowners along with 4,000 outreaches to 41 rural municipalities.

“We’ve worked very hard to listen and identify issues of concern,” Golden says. “The input we’ve received has truly helped make the L3RP better.”

One of the key components in earning support for any large industrial project in Canada today, he says, is seeking the inclusion and participation of Indigenous communities. Recognizing this reality at the outset of the L3RP led to Indigenous labor and contracting spending in excess of $450 million.

“Large projects like Line 3 are one way we can help lift Indigenous communities from poverty and toward future prosperity,” says Golden. “When Indigenous communities benefit, we all do as Canadians.”

Among other highlights of this progressive approach, Enbridge:

  • Secured cooperative agreements with almost 100 Indigenous communities or groups with provisions for Traditional Land Use, procurement, training and employment, environmental stewardship and construction monitoring;
  • Trained over 300 men and women in the basic skills of pipelining, heavy equipment operation and pipeline inspection;
  • Employed more than 1,100 Indigenous men and women, representing about 20% of the construction workforce and a total of 141 communities; and,
  • Paid wages of more than $120 million to Indigenous workers, supporting themselves, their families, and their communities.

Another defining characteristic of the L3RP was the focus on community investment, which saw donations totaling some $3 million to support more than 400 community driven celebrations/cultural events, building improvements, parks and playgrounds, environment and safety initiatives, emergency response equipment upgrades, and more.

Meanwhile, as the new pipeline begins to ship oil for its customers, final reclamation of the remaining 100 km of the construction area, in southeast Saskatchewan, will have to wait until the spring of 2020 due to inclement fall weather.

(TOP PHOTO: Gretna, MB area maintenance staff pose for the camera after opening the valve between the Line 3 replacement pipeline in Canada and U.S. Line 3.)