$2.6 Billion Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project Faces Another Obstacle

The two state agencies in Minnesota, The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources said on Tuesday that they can't take final action on the permits for Enbridge Energy's Line 3 replacement project, until problems with its environmental review are resolved.

The agencies said they will continue reviewing the applications, but won’t release the draft permits as scheduled on July 1st. The current Line 3, which was built in the 1960s is increasingly subject to corrosion and cracking, and runs at only about half of its original capacity for safety reasons.

The replacement pipeline would carry Canadian crude from Alberta across northern Minnesota to Enbridge's terminal in Superior, Wisconsin, which sits near the westernmost tip of Lake Superior. Earlier this month, Minnesota State Court of Appeals ruled that the project's environmental impact statement failed to address the possibility of a spill into the Lake Superior watershed.

"We believe the actions required to address the spill modeling in the Lake Superior watershed can be completed efficiently," Enbridge said.

According to the environmental and tribal groups, the project poses a risk of oil spills in pristine areas of the Mississippi River headwaters region where Native Americans gather wild rice, and that the Canadian tar sands oil that the line would carry accelerates climate change.

Source:
pgjonline

$40 Million Pre-Construction Work on Line 5 Tunnel Will Start Soon

Enbridge Energy will drill for rock and soil samples from a barge in the Straits of Mackinac this week. The company obtained a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the rock and soil sampling. The geotechnical work is part of the scope of work allowed through a permit issued in January, a spokesman for the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy said.

By moving its previously land-based boring operation onto the actual waterway, Enbridge said, “preserves the schedule to complete the tunnel at the earliest possible date,” which is expected to be five years from now in 2024. Enbridge said on Monday that it received written affirmation from the state last week that allowed it to continue collecting geotechnical samples.

The company plans to spend $40 million this year on the beginning phases of its $500 million utility corridor project, and the geotechnical work is part of its beginning phase. Drilling and sampling will begin from a small barge this week just west of the Mackinac Bridge and a larger, specialized barge will drill in the deepest sections of the passage later in July, Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said.

The geotechnical work “will gather information to inform the detailed engineering and permit application efforts that are part of advancing our commitment to the tunnel that will house a replacement pipeline for Line 5 at the Straits of Mackinac,” the company said in a statement.

Source:
detroitnews

PHMSA Files Appeal in Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline Case

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration filed an appeal with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio. The administration is appealing to rewrite a federal judge’s decision on an oil spill plan for the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith in Detroit had ruled that the documents were incomplete and had criticized the agency for approving the plans. He said PHMSA had failed to conduct environmental reviews and it must take another look at the plans prepared for Enbridge’s Line 5.

The judge called for an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement in defense of the decisions and also ordered the agency to provide more information about its reasons for approving the plans.

Although the plans were filed by Enbridge in 2015 and 2017, the ruling came in connection with a lawsuit filed by the National Wildlife Federation. Line 5 carries 23 million gallons of oil and liquids per day through Michigan on its way from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario.

Source:
kallanishenergy

Minnesota PUC Confirms Enbridge Energy's Line 3 Pipeline Approval

Enbridge Energy's proposed $7 billion Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement gets final approval from Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the company said on Wednesday. The PUC unanimously rejected the last pending petitions for reconsideration, including one from the state Commerce Department.

“The PUC confirmed its decision to approve the conditions placed on L3R’s (Line 3 Replacement) Certificate of Need – conditions meant to protect Minnesotans – allowing this critical energy infrastructure modernization project to move forward,” Enbridge said in a statement.

Since 1960s, Line 3 has carried Canadian crude from Alberta to Wisconsin and is currently operating at half its capacity. The Line 3 replacement would allow it to return to approved capacity of 760,000 barrels per day.

The PUC initially approved Enbridge’s plan to rebuild the aging 1,031-mile pipeline in June, but that decision was challenged by Minnesota’s governor in February.

The new line would cross Alberta, a corner of North Dakota and northern Minnesota to an Enbridge terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Besides clearing the legal challenges, Calgary-based Enbridge also needs state and federal permits, which the company hopes to secure around end of the year.

Sources:
chron
reuters

Moda Midstream Planning to Build a Second Supertanker Berth to Handle Three New Pipelines

An expansion project to build a second berth to accommodate supertankers is in consideration by Moda Midstream LLC at its crude export terminal in Ingleside, Texas, the company’s CEO Bo McCall said on Thursday.

As three major pipelines by Plains All American Pipeline LP, EPIC Crude Pipeline LP and Enbridge Inc., starts service, the expansion to the terminal is necessary. Also the company is increasing the facility’s crude storage capacity from 2 million to 12 million barrels.

“When these new pipelines come online, there is going to be close to 3.5 million barrels a day coming into the market,” McCall said. In order to handle other types of tankers, Moda is also studying the feasibility of building an additional pier with two more berths, McCall said.

Moda’s loading ability per supertanker will rise to 1.5 million barrels once the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves the contract this year to dredge the Corpus Christi ship channel to the Ingleside facility to a depth of 54 feet from 47 feet.

Source:
pgjonline

Enbridge's Line 3 Pipeline Opening Delayed in Minnesota

The startup plans of Line 3 replacement crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota by the Canadian-based Enbridge Energy is delayed by a year, the company said on Friday. The company now expects the new pipeline to go into service in the second half of 2020.

The project was approved last summer by the state’s Public Utilities Commission and the initial plan was to put the pipeline into service in the second half of 2019.

But the Minnesota Department of Commerce argued that Enbridge failed to provide legally adequate long-range demand forecasts to establish that is needed.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz recently said his administration will keep pursuing an appeal of an independent regulatory commission's approval of Enbridge's plan.

According to Enbridge Energy, Line 3 is increasingly prone to cracking and corrosion, and wants to be replaced. But the Native American and environmental activists argue the project risks spills in pristine areas.

Source:
abcnews

Enbridge Gets Approval for Line 3 Despite Activist Concerns

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved Enbridge's proposed rebuild of their outdated Alberta-to-Wisconsin oil pipeline.

The route approved closely matches Enbridge’s preference and will take Line 3 over a new corridor along its route for a only a part of the construction. It will follow existing pipeline paths before steering south of a lake in order to ensure construction isn't delayed for up to a year.

The approval has conditions, including that Enbridge make a financial guarantee to cover any cleanup caused by environmental damage and remove any pipelines that are no longer in use if landowners request it.

Environmental activists were upset and spoke up during the commission's meeting.

The original Line 3, which has been operating at half capacity, will return to an approved capacity of 760,000 barrels per day after being replaced.

Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton said that that an additional 29 permits from local, state, and federal levels will still be required.

“Approvals are by no means assured,”

Source: 
Reuters

Texas Pipeline Association Elects New Chairman

Director of commercial services for Enbridge Energy John Loiacono has been elected chairman of the Texas Pipeline Association (TPA), the association announced last Friday at its annual meeting in downtown Houston.

The TPA is the largest state trade association in the country that solely represents the interests of the intrastate pipeline network. The association provides advocacy on issues related to pipeline safety, environmental regulations, taxation, and legislation.

Loiacono has more than 27 years of experience in petroleum production and natural gas gathering, processing, treating, and transmission. He also holds a bachelor of science degree in petroleum engineering and as well as an MBA.

Upon the announcement, Loiacono said he looks forward to working on issues facing the dynamic industry during this time of "unprecedented energy growth" in Texas.

Source:
Texas Pipeline Association
PennEnergy

Minnesota PUC Says Enbridge Must Publicly Report Line 3 Oil Spill Projections

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted Thursday that Enbridge Energy must publicly disclose its projections for potential oil spills from its proposed Line 3 pipeline replacement project.

Enbridge submitted its modeling dataset, which includes the probability of large spills at seven water crossings in northern Minnesota, to the Minnesota Department of Commerce but had much of the data redacted from the public version of the dataset for safety and security reasons.

The state's PUC voted to release the spill information to the public anyway, arguing that the data should be public and that the information is not likely to cause a security threat.

Enbridge Energy is seeking permission in Minnesota to replace a part of its aging Line 3 pipeline that currently only runs at approximately half of its original capacity for safety reasons. The pipeline runs from Alberta through North Dakota and Minnesota to Wisconsin. Construction on the $7.5 billion project has already begun in Canada and Wisconsin.

Environmentalists and tribal groups are strongly against the pipeline and have cut short public hearings on the project. Minnesota's PUC recently canceled two hearings that had been scheduled in St. Cloud on Thursday due to logistical and safety issues.

Source:
Houston Chronicle

Minnesota to Hold 22 Meetings On Largest Pipeline Project in Enbridge History

Minnesota regulators are planning to open a series of 22 meetings on Enbridge's Line 3 oil pipeline project, its largest pipeline project in history, to give the public a chance to comment on a draft environmental review for the project that was released last month.

The meetings will be held along the proposed route of the line across northern Minnesota. A final decision on the route from the state is not expected until next year.

Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline would replace an existing 1960s pipeline that has been subject to deterioration due to age and can no longer perform at maximum capacity. The $7.5 billion, 1,031-mile replacement project would restore the pipeline from 390,000 barrels per day back to 760,000 barrels per day. The existing line runs from Alberta, Canada to northwestern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce will host public meetings from June 6 to June 22, taking both public testimony and written statements. Those hearings will be followed by more hearings in September and October.

A decision is expected next April by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on whether to grant a certificate of need and route permit for the project.

Source:
Enbridge Energy
Houston Chronicle

Enbridge Consolidates into Former Spectra Headquarters; Job Cuts on the Way

Enbridge, which recently completed its $28 billion purchase of Spectra Energy, is moving its office from downtown Houston and consolidating into Spectra Energy's old headquarters on Westheimer Court near the Houston Galleria by end of the year.

Job cuts are on the horizon in Houston, but numbers and timing are still being determined. The company's plan is to grow, but the large-scale merger will inevitably bring duplication of corporate positions, resulting in some cuts. According to the company, personnel reductions will be the main reason for Enbridge's estimated $540 million in pre-tax savings from the merger.

Enbridge stated that its three partnership businesses, Enbridge Energy Partners, Midcoast Energy Partners, and Spectra Energy Partners, will keep their names, locations, and will not be consolidated due to their effective business models.

Enbridge CEO Al Monaco said the merger will help the company grow amid strong opposition to new pipeline projects, which have "become the point of attack" from environmentalists and aboriginal groups. He also said the merger will increase the company's network of gas and natural gas liquids pipelines, a resource he believes is going to be a huge part of the future.

Source:
Fuel Fix

State Department to Hold Meeting on Enbridge Alberta Clipper Pipeline Project

The State Department is heading to Minnesota on Tuesday to hold the only public meeting over a draft environmental review of Enbridge's Alberta Clipper pipeline expansion project that, if approved, would boost capacity from 450,000 to 800,000 barrels per day on the line that carries Canadian tar sands oil across Minnesota to Wisconsin.

The meeting will be part of the public comment period on the draft environmental review as members of the State Department consider the comments before issuing the final version.

In its four-year draft review, the agency states that the project to add three miles of pipe to the 1,000-mile Alberta Clipper pipeline at the Canada/U.S. border would not have any significant impact to the environment.

Opponents argue that tar sands oil is a bigger threat to the environment than regular crude and that the pipeline dangers sensitive geographical areas and resources.

Enbridge argues the expansion is vital in order to lessen the need for imports from unstable nations.

Because the proposed expansion crosses the border into North Dakota, the project needs a presidential permit. President Trump will decide the fate of the project once the final version of the environmental review is complete.

Source:
Seattle Times

Enbridge Energy to Buy Spectra Energy for $28 Billion

Canadian-based Enbridge Energy agreed on Tuesday to buy Texas-based Spectra Energy for $28 billion, potentially creating the largest North American energy-infrastructure company.

The companies announced the merger jointly, and the boards of both companies are fully supportive of the deal.

Under the deal, Spectra Energy shareholders will receive Enbridge shares valued at $40.33 each based on the closing price on Friday.

Enbridge shareholders will own roughly 57 percent of the combined company, which will be called Enbridge Inc., and Spectra Energy shareholders will own the other 43 percent.

Al Manaco, Chief Executive Officer of Enbridge Energy, will continue his role with the merger while Spectra Energy Chief Executive Officer Greg Ebel will become a nonexecutive chairman.

The merger is estimated to save the companies about $415 million in costs. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.

Source:
Wall Street Journal
New York Times