While all eyes are on TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, another Canadian company is quietly building a 5,000-mile network of new and expanded pipelines that would achieve the same goal as the Keystone. In fact, the project by Enbridge, Inc., Canada's largest transporter of crude oil, would bring even more Canadian oil into the U.S. than the much-debated Keystone project.
Enbridge has already begun growing its existing pipeline infrastructure to increase the flow of Canadian and U.S.-produced oil into refineries and ports in the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Northeastern Canada. The company's plans have largely escaped public scrutiny, in part because its expansion has proceeded in many segments and phases.
The linchpin of Enbridge's Canadian oil transport system is its proposal to increase the capacity of Line 67 (often referred to as the Alberta Clipper pipeline) to bring an additional 430,000 barrels a day of oil into the United States. Line 67 runs from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisc. and currently ships up to 450,000 barrels of oil a day. Enbridge wants to expand the line’s capacity to 570,000 barrels a day, with the possibility of future growth to 880,000 barrels a day. That's larger than the Keystone XL's proposed daily capacity of 830,000 barrels.
Because Line 67 crosses the U.S.-Canada border, it needs a presidential permit from the State Department before it can be expanded. That’s the same kind of permit TransCanada is seeking for the northern segment of Keystone XL. The Obama administration is expected to approve or deny the Keystone permit by the end of 2013. For Enbridge, the application process has just begun: the State Department is reviewing public comments on the scope of the environmental review.
Here's a breakdown of Enbridge's current and proposed pipeline projects:
**Click map to enlarge**
Line 67 (Alberta Clipper)
Expected in-service date: mid 2014
Origin and destination: Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisc.
Length: 1,000 miles
Description: Expansion of an existing pipeline via construction of new pump stations. The project needs a presidential permit from the State Department. The agency is now reviewing public comments the scope of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
Current capacity: 450,000 barrels per day (bpd)
Expanded capacity: initial capacity of 570,000 bpd , with the possibility of future expansion to 880,000 bpd
Market: increase shipments of Canadian tar sands and conventional oil into the U.S. for refining and export
Expected in-service date: early 2014 (initial expansion), 2016 (additional expansion). Origin and destination: Griffith, Ind. to Sarnia, Ontario
Length: 293 miles
Description: Expansion via building a new pipeline next to the existing 6B, modifying pump stations and constructing new storage tanks. Construction began in 2012 and is ongoing.
Current capacity: 240,000 bpd
Expanded capacity: 500,000 bpd (initial), expected to be in-service in early 2014. An additional expansion from Griffith, Ind. to Stockbridge, Mich. will increase the capacity to 570,000 and is expected to be operational in 2016.
Market: refineries in and around Michigan
Expected in-service date: spring 2014
Origin and destination: Sarnia, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec.
Length: 524 miles
Description: Reversing part of the existing Line 9 (from North Westover, Ontario to Montreal) to enable shipment of oil from Sarnia to Montreal. The Application is pending before the Canadian National Energy Board. Regulators approved the reversal of the Sarnia to North Westover segment last year. Total pipeline capacity will be expanded by injecting chemicals into the pipeline to reduce friction.
Current capacity: 240,000 bpd
Expanded capacity: 300,000 bpd
Market: Quebec refineries. Environmentalists and pipeline opponents say the Line 9 reversal would allow Enbridge to eventually access the Atlantic Coast and to export oil via new pipelines. In its Line 9 project description, Enbridge says it has "no plans, proposals or infrastructure for pipelines moving product further East than Montreal."
Expected in-service date: early 2013
Origin and destination: Stockbridge, Mich. to Freedom Junction, Mich.
Length: 35 miles
Description: New pipeline, which will connect to an existing 29-mile pipeline that Enbridge will lease from Wolverine Pipe Line Company. The Wolverine pipeline runs from Freedom Junction to Romulus, Mich. These two pipelines will allow Enbridge to ship oil from Stockbridge to Romulus.
Capacity in bpd: 80,000
Market: Michigan and Ohio refineries
Expected in-service date: mid or late 2013
Origin and destination: Superior, Wisc. to Sarnia, Ontario.
Length: 645 miles
Description: Expansion via boosting power at pump stations