Oct. 23, 2014 update: Enbridge outlines risk management, valve placement in letter to NEB
Recently, the National Energy Board (NEB) asked for additional information regarding Enbridge’s definition of major water crossings, in relation to the NEB’s conditional approval of our Line 9B Reversal and Line 9 Capacity Expansion Project.
In responding to the Board’s request, Enbridge has filed a letter to the NEB describing our rigorous approach to risk management and isolation valve placement, which is designed to ensure that we not only meet, but exceed regulatory standards.
Key details of Enbridge’s letter to the NEB include:
- Our Line 9 Intelligent Valve Placement (IVP) methodology protects all water crossings along the pipeline route. It also protects other high-consequence areas (HCAs) from potential impacts to people and the environment;
- Our IVP methodology led to the addition of 17 remote-controlled valves along the Line 9 corridor, bringing the total to 74 valves (62 of them remote controlled), to further enhance Line 9’s safety standards;
- The IVP methodology optimizes valve locations along Line 9, using topography and pipeline elevation to naturally isolate potential release points – allowing one valve to protect multiple water crossings;
- Our broader, multi-layered Risk Management program includes inherently safe design and construction practices; an emphasis on the prevention of releases; investment in leak detection technologies; control and mitigation measures; and preparedness and emergency response.
By considering and protecting all water crossings equally, using remote-controlled isolation valves, and employing optimal valve placement as part of a suite of protective measures, Enbridge believes its Line 9 valves system exceeds Canadian regulatory requirements (CSA Z662-11).
Like the NEB, Enbridge takes safety very seriously, and our top priority is the protection of the public and the environment. We are committed to demonstrating to our stakeholders we are operating and can continue to operate our pipelines safely.
Line 9 has operated safely for nearly 40 years, and the measures we have taken in the area of risk management and valve placement have made a safe pipeline even safer. We appreciate this opportunity to provide further clarity to the Board and our stakeholders.
Enbridge's letter to the NEB can be viewed in full on the NEB's website.
* * *
The Line 9 reversal is the centerpiece of Enbridge’s Eastern Canadian Refinery Access Initiative – a development that will protect the future of Canadian refineries, safeguard jobs, and benefit Canada’s economy as a whole.
Line 9 is an existing 762-mm (30-inch) diameter pipeline with a current capacity of approximately 240,000 barrels per day, extending from Sarnia, Ont., to Montreal. Enbridge has been operating the Line 9 pipeline safely and reliably since 1976.
Originally flowing eastward, Line 9 was reversed in 1998 as foreign oil from areas such as West Africa and the Middle East became more affordable. Currently, Line 9 transports that foreign-sourced crude in a westbound direction (Ontario and Quebec refineries currently process 18% and 90% foreign-sourced crude, respectively).
However, Western Canadian crude is now priced significantly lower than foreign oil. And as a result, Enbridge made a successful regulatory application to the National Energy Board (NEB) over the past two years to reverse the flow of Line 9 once again.
By ensuring a steady, secure, reliable, and more economical supply of Western Canadian crude – which can be sourced from various locations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Bakken – Enbridge’s Eastern Canadian Refinery Access Initiative will potentially level the playing field for Canadian refineries, protecting their long-term viability and safeguarding jobs. In the bigger picture, the reversal of Line 9 is critical to the security of energy supply in Canada.
Line 9A and 9B Reversal Applications
Enbridge devised a two-step process for the proposed reversal of Line 9. The standalone application for the reversal of the section known as Line 9A, from Sarnia, Ont., to North Westover, Ont., was approved by the NEB in July 2012. Project work was completed in November 2013, and that section of Line 9 is now flowing in a reversed direction.
Enbridge filed a project application with the NEB for the 639-kilometre section known as Line 9B, running from North Westover, Ont., to Montreal, in November 2012, proposing at the same time to expand the capacity of Line 9 from 240,000 bpd to 300,000 bpd. The NEB approved the Line 9B Reversal and Line 9 Capacity Expansion Project on March 6, 2014.
Over the past decade, Enbridge has transported nearly 12 billion barrels of crude oil with a safe delivery record that’s better than 99.999 per cent. We also know that’s not good enough, because our goal – simply, unequivocally – will always be zero incidents.
At Enbridge, we back up our safety priorities by investing heavily in the tools, technologies, and strategies to ensure our energy transportation and distribution systems operate safely, reliably, and in an environmentally responsible manner. In 2012 and 2013 we invested a total of $4.4 billion in programs and initiatives to maintain and further enhance our pipelines and facilities in all parts of our business.
Click here for a more thorough description of our dedication to pipeline safety, including the areas of monitoring, prevention, and emergency response.
Answering Your Questions
We continue to engage the public in meaningful discussions regarding the Line 9 reversal and capacity expansion. We speak frequently with landowners, municipalities, interested individuals and organizations to provide information and answer questions.
Line 9 Products
Line 9 will carry mainly light crude oil. However, shippers will be permitted to ship crude oil blends or types that meet quality specifications set by Enbridge, and filed with the National Energy Board. This includes heavy crudes such as diluted bitumen – which has been studied by numerous scientific bodies, including the highly respected and influential National Academy of Sciences, and found to be non-corrosive and safe for pipelines.
At Enbridge, we’ve been transporting crude oil produced from Canada’s oil sands region since 1968. There is nothing new about transporting this form of crude oil – and after nearly half a century, there is no evidence that internal corrosion is caused by transporting oil from the Canadian oil sands. In fact, Enbridge has never experienced an internal corrosion failure on its mainline pipeline system.
Minimizing the Impact
The Line 9 reversal and capacity expansion will use the existing pipeline. No new pipe will be added. Except for some temporary workspace, all work will take place within existing Enbridge properties and rights-of-way.
As part of our successful proposal to expand the capacity of Line 9 from 240,000 bpd to 300,000 bpd, Drag Reducing Agent (DRA), a tested and safe polymer compound found in wool, nylon, and silicone, will be injected into the crude oil along Line 9, allowing oil to flow with less friction. Use of this technology allows for increased capacity with minimal requirement for new infrastructure – which ultimately minimizes the impact to the environment and stakeholders.
Project work will be performed at Sarnia Terminal, North Westover Station, Westover Terminal, Hilton Station, Cardinal Station, Terrebonne Station, and Montreal Terminal. Modification or replacement of existing equipment (including small pumps injecting DRA into the oil flow) and the installation of piping will take place within facility boundaries.