The Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement project involved the construction of a new pipeline to replace Enbridge’s pre-existing 1,765 km-long and 34in-diameter pipeline that had been supplying crude oil from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to the US Midwest refineries since 1968.

The new 1,660km-long and 36in-diameter pipeline originates from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, and terminates at Superior, Wisconsin, US.

Enbridge, a North America-focused energy infrastructure company based in Canada, is the owner and operator of the pipeline. It is the biggest project Enbridge has ever undertaken in its history.

The company announced the completion of the £5.9bn ($8.2bn) replacement pipeline in September 2021. The Canadian segment of the pipeline cost C$5.3bn ($4.2bn), while the US segment cost C$5bn ($4bn) to construct.

The Line 3 crude oil pipeline had been operating at an annual average capacity of 390,000 barrels per day (bpd), significantly lower than the original capacity.

The replacement pipeline, which is also called Line 93, will restore the full pipeline capacity of 760,000bpd. Further, the new pipeline will allow safer and more reliable supply of light, medium, and heavy crude oil from Western Canada to the US refineries.

Canadian Line 3 replacement details

The Canadian Line 3 replacement programme involved the replacement of approximately 1,066km of the existing Line 3 pipeline section between Hardisty, Alberta, and Gretna, Manitoba.

Construction of the Canadian portion of the replacement pipeline was started in August 2017 and completed in May 2019. The new pipeline, which passes through Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba provinces in Canada, commenced operations in December 2019.

Details of the US segment of the Line 3 replacement pipeline

The US segment of the Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement runs between Neche, North Dakota, and Superior, Wisconsin.

The 22.5km-long Wisconsin section was constructed between June and December 2017, while it commenced operations in May 2018.

Construction of the 21km-long North Dakota section was completed in December 2020, while construction on the 542km-long Minnesota portion, the final section of the pipeline, was started in the same month.

The new pipeline in Minnesota replaced approximately 454km of the pre-existing Line 3 crude pipeline and comprises eight new pump stations. Its construction was completed in September 2021.

The Line 3 replacement pipeline transports crude oil to the Enbridge Clearbrook Terminal near Clearbrook, Clearwater County, Minnesota, and the Enbridge Superior Terminal near Superior, Wisconsin.

Contractors involved in Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project

SA Energy Group, a joint venture between Aecon (50%) and Robert B. Somerville (50%), was awarded a pipeline construction contract worth C$280m ($214m) by Enbridge to lay 188.7km of pipeline in Manitoba, as part of the Canadian Line 3 replacement phase two project, in July 2018.

SA Energy Group was also engaged to construct 261km of pipeline between Rosetown and Regina, Saskatchewan, in 2017, in phase one of the Canadian Line 3 replacement project.

Quanta Services bagged a construction contract for three pipeline spreads covering 380km from White City, Saskatchewan, to Brandon, Manitoba, in phase two of the Canadian Line 3 replacement project in July 2018.

Quanta Services was also earlier contracted to construct two spreads of the Canadian Line 3 replacement stretching 270km from Hardisty, Alberta, to the Saskatchewan province, Canada, in August 2017.

Precision Pipeline and the Michels Corporation were the key construction contractors for the US section of the Line 3 replacement project.