Construction on Enbridgeís Line 3 Replacement Program progresses in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2017. The L3RP, with a targeted completion date of 2019, will fully replace 1,660 km of Line 3, one of the primary conduits in Enbridgeís Mainline crude oil network between Hardisty, Alberta and Superior, Wisconsin. (ENBRIDGE)
Work on the Line 3 replacement project has already started in Alberta and Saskatchewan according to Enbridge Senior Communications Advisor Suzanne Wilton.
“There is some preliminary pump station work that has started in Manitoba,” she said.
The Line 3 replacement project will replace the current pipeline that runs from Hardisty, Alberta through the Winkler/Morden area, to Gretna and into North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The project was approved in 2016.
Meetings in Gretna and Morden have been hosted by those opposed to the project in the last week. Those opponents often cited the increased capacity of the new pipeline, something Wilton said isn’t accurate.
“We have been operating this pipeline at about half of its capacity for a number of years now,” she said.
Citing integrity issues, Wilton said the current pipeline requires significant maintenance to ensure continued safety.
The new 36 inch pipeline will replace the 34 inch pipeline currently in the ground and will enhance safety according to Wilton.
She said the larger pipe doesn’t translate into more capacity.
“The capacity will be the same,” she said. “It basically allows us to be more efficient. A bigger pipeline will require less pumping power. The capacity won’t change but it will allow the product to move more efficiently.”
Currently light crude oil is pumped through Line 3, even though it was originally approved as a mixed line. That means legally it can carry heavier crude.
“Because of integrity concerns it’s primarily running light,” she said. “The new line will be mixed.”
At local meetings much was made over the fact that the current Line 3 will be left in the ground, even when the new one is installed.
“This is a process governed by the National Energy Board,” she said. “What we do is clean the pipeline and then cap it.”
Called “decommissioning in place”, Wilton says it’s the safest and least disruptive option, avoiding the risk of future soil and slope instability.
“It’s completely cleaned out. There’s no residual oil or product left in the pipeline,” she said about the process. “Enbridge remains responsible for that pipeline and it will continue to be monitored.”
Wilton said they expect to meet with communities as the bulk of the construction is set to begin.
“I understand there is some planning underway to come to the community to provide further information and engage with the people in the area as we finalize construction plans,” she said.
Wilton said she appreciates the interest people have.
“We welcome discussion about this project and we look forward to continuing to meet, to talk with the community,” she said.
Wilton noted they have 100 per cent landowner support as well as agreements covering about 75 Indigenous communities.
More information on the project can be found at www.enbridge.com/line3-Canada or by calling 1-888-967-3899.