Enbridge has secured the last of the federal permits in the US needed for its $6.96bn Line 3 Replacement Project, taking it closer to construction in Minnesota.

The permits granted by the US Army Corps of Engineers to the Canadian company include related to Section 404, Section 10, and Section 408.

The Line 3 Replacement Project involves the complete replacement of the 1,765km long existing Line 3 crude oil pipeline. Line 3 was laid in the 1960s between Edmonton, Alberta in Canada to Superior, Wisconsin in the US.

As part of its review, the US Army Corps of Engineers, among other activities, undertook public consultation, including with 30 participating tribes.

One of the main permitting inputs for the project was the Tribal Cultural Resource Survey of the full route of the project, stated Enbridge.

The survey was managed by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Enbridge Line 3 execution vice president Leo Golden said: “We have now received all federal permits required for replacing Line 3, an essential maintenance project that will better protect Minnesota communities and the environment.

“These permits reflect yet another science-based approval for the project, which now moves closer to the start of construction, hopefully before the end of the year. Final state permits and authorisations are still needed before work can begin.”

Earlier this month, Enbridge secured the 401 Water Quality Certification and other approvals from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for the project. The company was also granted the final eight permits it needed for the project from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The Line 3 replacement project is being undertaken to maintain safety standards, restore the operating capabilities of pipeline, cut down future maintenance activities and create fewer disruptions to landowners as well as the environment.

In the US, the Line 3 Replacement Project involves the replacement of an existing 34-inch pipe with a new 36-inch pipe for a 21km stretch in North Dakota, a 542km stretch in Minnesota, and a 22.5km stretch in Wisconsin.

Construction on the Wisconsin stretch was completed in December 2017 and was brought into service in May 2018.

The company secured all the necessary permits for the project in North Dakota in February 2019 and had completed construction in the state in October 2020.

The investment for the US part of the pipeline replacement project is estimated at $2.9bn. Following the replacement, the average annual capacity of the Line 3 pipeline will be 760,000 barrels per day.

The Line 3 Replacement Project in the US is expected to help in delivering secure, reliable, and growing supplies of North American crude oil to Minnesota and the surrounding areas. The project is estimated to create 4,200 construction jobs.