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The Line 3 pipeline that operator Enbridge had scheduled to be replaced by the end of this year, will return to operation more than six months later, the company said after it announced that the state of Minnesota had given it the timeline for collecting all necessary permits for the replacement of the pipeline.
he Line 3 Replacement Program is planned to fully replace 1,031 miles of Line 3 with new pipeline and associated facilities on either side of the Canada-U.S. international border. The U.S. portion of the program is from Neche, North Dakota, through Minnesota, to Superior, Wisconsin. The pipeline project envisages higher capacity and changes in routing in some parts, prompting opponents of the plan to argue that the replacement project is more like a new pipeline plan.
At the end of the second quarter of 2018, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the proposed replacement of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline despite the vocal environmentalist opposition. This opposition, however, prompted a vote by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on whether it should review its decision to grant a certificate of need for the replacement project. The vote, taken in December, was unanimously in favor of the Line 3 replacement.
Now, the commission has provided Enbridge with the period it needs to acquire all necessary permits to go ahead with the Line 3 replacement, and this period will run until the end of November this year, the company said. That’s quite a bit later than what Enbridge had anticipated: the company expected to get a timeline that ran until the end of June this year. As a result, the new Line 3 will only begin carrying oil some time in the second half of 2020.
The new Line 3 will have a capacity of 370,000 bpd, a much needed addition for Canadian oil producers who have been struggling with pipeline bottlenecks amid rising oil production.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.