The proposed Line 9 reversal is the centerpiece of Enbridge’s Eastern Canadian Refinery Access Initiative – a development that would 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 has made a regulatory application to the National Energy Board (NEB) 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 Revesal Applications
Enbridge has 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. 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 9B from 240,000 bpd to 300,000 bpd. The NEB judged the application complete in December 2012, and has set oral final argument hearings for Line 9B in October 2013 in Montreal (Oct. 8 to 11) and Toronto (Oct. 16 to 19). A final decision from the NEB is expected in January 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 pipeline safety and maintenance initiatives. In 2012, we spent more than $800 million to ensure the safety of our pipeline system – with a pipeline integrity program that ensures our pipelines are inspected, both physically and visually, for safety and reliability. We doubled the number of staff dedicated to leak detection and pipeline control systems, and we substantially strengthened our focus on the tools, technologies, and strategies necessary to ensure the fitness of our pipelines.
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 proposed Line 9 reversal. We’ve engaged with more than 2,600 stakeholders on this project. We’ve held six community open houses in Quebec, and 20 more in Ontario, along the Line 9B right-of-way. We speak frequently with individuals and organizations to provide information and answer questions, and since early 2013, we’ve responded to more than 200 questions from nearly 40 different stakeholders.
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 proposed Line 9 reversal project will use the existing pipeline. No new pipe will be added to complete the reversal and capacity expansion. Except for some temporary workspace, all work will take place within existing Enbridge properties and rights-of-way.
We’re proposing to expand the capacity of Line 9B 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.