CALGARY – The Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement project proposed by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) has attracted little attention despite its potential to increase Canadian exports to the United States. Here are some facts about the plan:
— The $7.5-billion, 1,660-kilometre pipeline replacement project would be the most expensive in Enbridge history.
— The line is almost half a century old and its regulated maximum throughput has been reduced through pressure restrictions to about 390,000 barrels of oil per day.
— The replacement of the aging 34-inch diameter pipe with new 36-inch pipe will restore the original regulated capacity of 760,000 barrels per day, nearly doubling oil shipping potential.
— In April, the National Energy Board recommended approval of the Canadian part of the project with 89 conditions.
— Line 3 already has a U.S. presidential permit, unlike the higher-profile Keystone XL pipeline project which was rejected by the Obama administration a year ago. Line 3 still requires state regulator approvals.
— On the Canadian side of the border, Enbridge intends to spend $4.9 billion to replace Line 3 between Hardisty, Alta., and the Canada-U.S. border at Gretna, Man.
— On the U.S. side, it will spend US$2.6-billion to replace pipe between Neche, N.D., and its terminal in Superior, Wis., from which crude can be transported to refinery markets in Chicago, the U.S. Gulf Coast and the eastern U.S. and Canada.
— Decommissioning of the existing Line 3 pipe will begin after the replacement pipeline is in service. Product will be removed and the line will be cleaned but the pipe itself is to be left in the ground.