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Line 3 Replacement Program (Canada)
Construction of the $5.3-billion Canadian portion of the Line 3 Replacement Program is complete; the new Line 3 began commercial service in December 2019.
Meanwhile, construction began in December 2020 on the 337-mile Minnesota portion of the project, the only segment of Line 3 yet to be replaced with new state-of-the-art pipe.
- Reclamation is complete along the 1,070-km Canadian pipeline right-of-way.
- With the new replacement line operational, the legacy Line 3 pipeline will be decommissioned beginning in the summer of 2021, in accordance with regulatory requirements.
As part of the L3RP, the existing Line 3 pipeline will be decommissioned—and Enbridge will remain responsible for the decommissioned line.
A decommissioned pipeline is taken out of service safely and permanently, but left in place while other existing or new pipelines in the same right-of-way continue to provide service to end users.
The process of decommissioning a pipeline typically involves: removing the oil from the pipeline; cleaning the pipeline; physically disconnecting the pipeline; segmenting the pipeline and continuing to monitor it.
Leaving the decommissioned pipeline in place is the safest and least disruptive option— it means minimal disturbance during project construction and significantly reduces the risk of future soil and slope instability.
For more information on the decommissioning process, visit our L3RP Decommissioning webpage.
Over the past decade, from 2010 through 2019 inclusive, Enbridge has transported more than 27.2 billion barrels of crude oil, with a safe delivery record of 99.99976%. We know that’s not good enough, because our goal—simply, unequivocally—will always be zero incidents.
At Enbridge, we back up our safety priorities by investing heavily in the tools, technologies, and strategies to ensure our energy transportation and distribution systems operate safely, reliably, and in an environmentally responsible manner. In 2019, we spent more than C$1.7 billion on programs that help us to maintain the fitness of our systems, including our crude oil and liquids network, across our operations in Canada and the U.S.
Click here for a more thorough description of Enbridge's dedication to pipeline safety, including the areas of monitoring, prevention, and emergency response.
The Line 3 replacement pipeline will be a “mixed-service” line, meaning it carries a variety of crude oils, including sweets, light and high sours, and light synthetics.
Shippers are permitted to ship crude oil blends or types on Enbridge’s liquids pipelines system that meet stringent quality specifications set by Enbridge, and filed with the Canada Energy Regulator. This includes heavy crudes such as diluted bitumen—which has been studied by numerous scientific bodies, including the highly respected and influential National Academy of Sciences, and found to be non-corrosive and safe for pipelines.
At Enbridge, we’ve been transporting crude oil produced from Canada’s oil sands region since 1968. There is nothing new about transporting this form of crude oil—and after nearly half a century, there is no evidence that internal corrosion is caused by transporting oil from the Canadian oil sands. In fact, Enbridge has never experienced an internal corrosion failure on its mainline pipeline system.
If you have any questions or concerns, or if you require further information regarding this program or Enbridge’s public involvement process, please call our program toll-free line:
1-888-967-3899 (leave your contact information)
Or send an e-mail to email@example.com
We will respond to calls and e-mails promptly.
Media: Please call the Enbridge toll-free media line at 1-888-992-0997
- Type: Crude oil and liquids pipeline
- Status: Planned
- Length: 665 miles (1,070 km)
- Expected in-service date: December 2019 (Canada), 2H 2020 (U.S.)
- Expected initial capacity: 390,000 barrels per day
- Estimated to transport: Light, medium and heavy crude
- Estimated capital cost:C$5.3 billion in Canada, US$2.9 billion in United States
As part of the Line 3 Replacement Program, the existing Line 3 pipeline will be decommissioned—and Enbridge will be responsible for the decommissioned line forever.
In the Canadian pipeline industry, a line is said to be decommissioned when its operations permanently cease, but its end users along that right-of-way do not see a discontinuance of service. Using a traffic analogy, when one lane of a four-lane highway is closed down, traffic still uses the remaining lanes to travel from city to city.
In advance of the potential decommissioning of a line, engineering and environmental assessments are completed in consultation with landowners. And once the National Energy Board approves a decommission application, the process generally involves:
- Removing the vast majority of crude oil from the pipeline with specially designed cleaning instruments;
- Wiping and cleaning the pipeline, using a combination of cleaning instruments and cleaning solution;
- Physically disconnecting the pipeline and sealing it off from active operational facilities, such as pump stations;
- Segmenting the pipeline, where required, by creating permanent physical barriers inside the pipe (including gate valves and permanent segmentation plugs) to prevent the pipeline from acting as a water conduit.
The process does not end there. Enbridge is committed to monitoring decommissioned lines, just as we do with active lines, in various ways. They include:
- Right-of-way monitoring and maintenance, including depth-of-cover surveys;
- Maintaining cathodic protection;
- Maintaining signage, with appropriate contact information, that identifies a decommissioned line in the right-of-way or corridor;
- Maintaining the line’s profile for Call/Click Before You Dig programs.
Generally speaking, Enbridge leaves a decommissioned line in place to avoid major construction activities, and to reduce the risk of soil stability issues that could compromise the integrity of operating pipelines sharing the right-of-way.
This also means refraining from using the heavy equipment that would be needed to excavate and remove the buried pipeline – and that reduces the risk involved with maintaining the safe operation of those other pipelines.
A more thorough explanation of the L3RP's decommissioning process can be found in our application and Project Description document, which have been filed with the NEB.