Enbridge unveils massive pipeline overhaul

May 17, 2012 at 8:34 AM
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CALGARY, Alberta, May 17 (UPI) -- Canadian pipeline company Enbridge announced a multibillion-dollar plan to overhaul its pipeline systems in Canada and the United States.

Enbridge said it aims to make expansions to the Lakehead oil pipeline system in the U.S. Midwest.

"These projects require only the addition of pumping horsepower and crude oil tanks at existing sites with no pipeline construction, at a cost of approximately $360 million," a company statement read.

Other plans include a series of pipeline reversals, expansions and other developments in the U.S. Midwest. Reversing its Line 95 from Ontario would serve refineries in Quebec.

Expansion of the Lakehead system includes replacing a section of the Line 6B pipeline that ruptured in 2010 in southern Michigan. The pipeline was transiting tar sands oil from Alberta at the time of the spill.

The estimated $3 billion project is one of the largest investments in the company's history.

Enbridge Energy Partners President Mark Maki said the detailed projects would help expand market access in North America for the increasing oil production from western Canada and the Bakken formation in the northern United States.

Environmental groups and aboriginal communities in the United States and Canada said heavy crude oil like the type found in Alberta is more damaging to the environment than conventional crude.

Stephen Wuori, president of liquid pipelines for Enbridge, said communities along the pipeline routes would benefit from the increase in economic activity associated with the expansion projects.

"Importantly, these initiatives utilize existing pipeline infrastructure that minimizes our construction footprint," he said.

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