Enbridge: On track to put new Line 3 into service next year

Daniel Fowler
July 1, 2018

The stock spiked to $47.24 in early trading as word of the routing decision was added to news Thursday that state commissioners had recognized the need for the pipeline, despite vocal opposition from local Indigenous and environmental activists.

The rebuilt Line 3 will follow the existing pipeline path partway through Minnesota, before veering south to bypass Leech Lake reserve and avoid a need to shut down the pipeline for up to one year during construction.

Enbridge has pegged the cost of the Canadian segment of Line 3 at $5.3 billion, with an additional $3.8 billion budget for the USA segment.

Enbridge Inc.'s planned $7 billion replacement and expansion of its Line 3 conduit, linking Alberta's oil fields to refineries in the USA, was given the green light by regulators in Minnesota on Thursday, clearing the way for the project to move ahead.

The company estimates the pipeline will be in service in the second half of 2019, although analysts cautioned it may take until the first quarter of 2020 if substantial civil disobedience delays construction.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commision also took a vote to determine the route of the replacement pipeline, after considering both Enbridge's preferred route and the route Enbridge is now using.

"We are willing to continue to engage people who have opposing views", he said.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission's decision clears the final major hurdle, pending possible appeals, in Enbridge's three-year effort to rebuild its aging, corroded 1,031-mile (1,660-km) pipeline that runs from Alberta in western Canada to Wisconsin.

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"We will stop this in the regulatory process, we will stop this in the legal process and we will stop this with our bodies", Winona LaDuke, founder of Honor the Earth, said, according to video of the event.

Representative Garofalo responds if so-called environmentalists are concerned about water pollution, "They should be far more concerned about the existing pipeline rupturing, or that the oil would be moved via railcar, which we just discovered last week in Iowa is far more risky than moving it via pipeline".

"We will do everything that is needed to stop this pipeline".

"We strongly agree with the decision to grant the certificate of need for the Line 3 replacement project and by extension the PUC's acknowledgement that investing in infrastructure projects keeps our state safe and economically competitive", the group wrote in an email.

"Approvals are by no means assured", he said.

The coalition of Line 3 opponents is likely to formally request that the commission reconsider its approval, said Joe Plumer, lawyer for White Earth Nation.

Several commissioners voiced doubts that demand for crude oil and refined products such as gasoline would grow enough to warrant the pipeline. "We aren't there yet".

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