Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) has recommended the federal Governor in Council to approve the Enbridge’s pipeline project with conditions to replace an aging crude export pipeline to the US.
Enbridge earlier announced plans to invest more than C$7.5bn ($5.91bn) to replace all pipeline segments on the 1,660km Line 3 between Hardisty, Alberta, Canada and Superior, Wisconsin, US, by 2019.
The recommendation, however, is for the Canadian section of the line, while the US regulators are currently assessing the other pipeline section.
In 2014, Enbridge applied to replace 1,067km of aging 34 inch Line 3 pipeline between Hardisty, Alberta to Gretna, Manitoba, Canada, with 1,096km of new pipeline.
Following a public hearing process, the regulator concluded that the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Program (project) is in the public interest of Canada. It also imposed 89 project-specific conditions to improve public safety and environmental protection.
NEB noted that the Enbridge project will replace an aging pipeline with new pipeline constructed to modern standards and move oil to the US.
Enbridge intends to operate the new pipeline at the original pipeline’s capacity of 760,000 barrels of oil per day.
The firm voluntarily reduced the pressure of the pipeline to 390,000 bpd capacity due reliability concerns.
NEB also directed Enbridge to develop a plan for Aboriginal groups to take part in monitoring the construction of the new pipeline.
The panel recommends that the additional assessment and consultation needs to be carried out by the regulator on the policy and regulatory framework that guides advanced stages of a pipeline’s lifecycle.
These stages will include decommissioning and abandonment.