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January 15, 2013
Enbridge asks to increase crude import

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced that it received an application from Enbridge Energy LP to allow the company to nearly double the amount of Canadian crude oil now being transported from Canada’soil sands fields through the company’s Pipeline 67.  Approval of the application would require the DOS to amend the August 2009 Presidential Permit it provided to Enbridge, which currently allows 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) to cross the international border through Line 67. 

The DOS provides Presidential Permits for the construction, connection, operation, or maintenance at the borders of the United States of facilities for the exploration or import of liquid petroleum, petroleum products, or other nongaseous fuels to or from a foreign country.  The DOS must determine if such projects are in the U.S. national interest.  The DOS is currently considering granting a Presidential Permit for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would also move oil from Canada’s oil sands fields in Alberta. 

2010 spill

In July 2010, another Enbridge pipeline ruptured and spilled over 840,000 gallons of crude oil near Marshall, Michigan, one of the largest oil spills ever recorded in the Midwest.  An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the company “failed to accurately assess the structural integrity of the pipeline.” The investigation also found deficiencies with Enbridge’s integrity management procedures, control room operations, leak detection, and overall response plan.  The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed a record $3.7 million civil penalty and 24 actions against Enbridge for the spill.

880,000 bpd

In the United States, Line 67 extends 327 miles from the U.S.-Canada border through North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to the Superior Terminal.  From there, the crude oil is transported primarily to Midwestern markets and Mid-central and Gulf Coast markets, as well as points in the eastern United States and Canada. The U.S. portion of Line 67 facilities also consists of a total of 32 mainline valves with current pumping units located in Minnesota at stations in Clearbrook, Viking, and Deer River.

While the Line 67 expansion would not require any modifications to the facilities at the border, Enbridge intends to increase the capacity in at least two stages. Initially, the capacity would be increased up to 570,000 bpd by adding horsepower to existing pumping units inside of the current footprint of Enbridge’s pump stations in Minnesota.  Enbridge further seeks authority to increase the capacity from 570,000 bpd to an average annual capacity of 800,000 bpd and up to the line’s capacity of 880,000 bpd at a point in the future by constructing additional pumping units at Enbridge’s pump stations in Minnesota.

DOS’s notice of receipt of the Enbridge application was published in the January 2, 2013, FR.