Enbridge has secured approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for the Line 3 Replacement Project that aims at replacing an existing 1,765km long crude oil pipeline between Edmonton in the Canadian province of Alberta and Superior in the US state of Wisconsin.


Image: Enbridge building in Edmonton, Alberta. Photo: courtesy of Kyle1278 at English Wikipedia.

The American segment of the Line 3 Replacement Program replaces existing pipeline laid between Neche in North Dakota and Superior while running through the state of Minnesota. Cost of the American portion of the project is estimated to be $2.9bn while the Canadian part of it is estimated to be C$5.3bn ($4.01bn).

The replacement pipeline will be of 1,659km length with the US portion of it covering 542km in Minnesota, 21km in North Dakota and 22.5km in Wisconsin.

In Minnesota, Enbridge has been given a Certificate of Need from the Minnesota PUC which has given its nod to the company’s preferred route of the pipeline with minor modifications and certain conditions.

Enbridge president & CEO Al Monaco said: “Replacing Line 3 is first and foremost about the safety and integrity of this critical energy infrastructure. This project will also help ensure Minnesota and area refineries reliably receive the crude oil supply they need for the benefit of all Minnesotans and the surrounding region.

“The PUC’s decision to approve our preferred route with modifications is a good outcome for Minnesota and the result of listening carefully to stakeholders and an effective consultation process. We believe our route best protects the environment and has overwhelming support of communities.”

Enbridge, which has spent around $3.6bn till date on the overall Line 3 replacement project, is expecting to commission the replacement pipeline system in the second half of 2019.

The original Line 3 was built in the 1960s and was commissioned in 1968.

According to Enbridge, Line 3’s annual average capacity has varied between a low of 390,000 barrels per day (bpd) and a much higher capacity, in the range of 760,000 bpd.

The company believes that Line 3 replacement will decrease future repair activities of the historic pipeline and the resulting disruptions to landowners and the environment.

The 36-inch replacement pipeline is also expected to restore the historical operating capabilities of the existing 34-inch pipeline, and promote energy efficiency of Enbridge’s Mainline System.