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What’s Next for Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project?

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ENB’s Line 3 Replacement project

Enbridge’s (ENB) Line 3 Replacement project involves the replacement of all remaining segments of the company’s Line 3 pipeline, which runs between Hardisty, Alberta, and Superior, Wisconsin. The project also involves replacing the existing pipe with broader pipe for some of the pipeline segments. The total length of the pipeline to be replaced is 1,031 miles.

The Line 3 pipeline was first placed in service in 1968. The pipeline has been operating at 390,000 bpd (barrels per day)—nearly half of its capacity—since 2010, when Enbridge reduced the pressure on the pipeline to ensure its safe operation. The replaced Line 3 is expected to allow Enbridge to restore the original capacity of the pipeline. It’s also expected to allow Enbridge to restore the transportation of heavy oil through the line.

The project includes the decommissioning of the existing Line 3 pipeline. The replacement project is expected to cost ~$7.0 billion and is expected to come into service in 2019.

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Progress on the project

On April 23, a Minnesota ALJ (administrative law judge) suggested a different route for the project than that proposed by Enbridge. Among other factors, this route is expected to increase the project’s cost. The map above shows Enbridge’s and ALJ’s proposed routes for the replacement pipeline.

What’s next?

On April 25, Enbridge stated that the ALJ’s recommended route ignores the previous analysis performed by the State of Minnesota. The company noted that the ALJ’s recommendations aren’t binding on the Minnesota PUC (Public Utilities Commission). Enbridge expects the PUC to vote on the project in June and to approve its proposed route.

Let’s discuss Kinder Morgan’s (KMI) Trans Mountain expansion project next.

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