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Enbridge will be able to double the capacity of its Line 67 crude oil pipeline from Edmonton, in Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin, after the U.S. State Department granted it a permit for the facility after a lengthy review process.
After the expansion, the pipe will be able to carry up to 890,000 bpd, from the current 450,000 bpd.
The permit, Reuters notes, follows a five-year review of the project amid growing public opposition in both the United States and Canada to new crude oil pipelines. As every cross-border pipeline projects requires a presidential permit, Enbridge had to wait for the Obama administration to complete the review, but lost patience in 2014 and instead decided to go around the delay and link Line 67, also known as the Alberta Clipper, to its Line 3 pipeline.
Line 3 is also the object of controversy, after Enbridge proposed to replace the existing infrastructure from Hardisty, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin – a 1,031-mile stretch that was originally installed in the 1960s. In the U.S., Enbridge will replace the segment that runs from North Dakota through Minnesota to Wisconsin for a total US$2.9-billion.
The project, however, recently ran into a large obstacle as the Minnesota Commerce Department in September surprisingly said the environmental and socioeconomic risks of the Line 3 replacement project exceeded its potential benefits, adding that Enbridge had not made a sound case about the need for a new pipeline.
Luckily for Enbridge, it’s not the Commerce Department that grants permits for a new pipeline, but the agency that does, the state Public Utilities Commission, could be swayed by the Commerce Department’s argument.
Line 3 is part of Enbridge’s Mainline pipeline network that carries the bulk of the 3 million bpd of crude that Canada exports to the United States. Now, the expansion of Line 67 will relieve other parts of the Mainline system that have been overloaded due to the combination of growing oil production and no change in the pipeline network.
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.