TORONTO, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Representatives of Enbridge Inc. in Canada said its work near Toronto was for preventative maintenance on its Line 9B though protesters questioned the motive.
Enbridge reversed the flow of the pipeline westward in 1998 to accommodate oil imports from the Middle East and West Africa. The company now wants to return the pipeline to its original state to accommodate the expansion of oil production in Western Canada.
Graham White, a company spokesman, was quoted by the Toronto Star as saying crews were replacing parts of the pipeline.
"What we're doing here is preventative maintenance," explained Gary Boone, an assistant project manager.
The Star reported protesters chained themselves to construction machinery Tuesday to protest the work on Line 9B, saying the work was preparation for the reversal. White said Enbridge has approval from the Canadian government for the repair work and it would go ahead regardless of any final federal decision on the reversal effort.
More than 100 protests took place across Canada in November to oppose the oil agenda in the country. Canada's heavier grade of crude oil is seen as more corrosive, and therefore more likely to lead to pipeline releases, than lighter grades.