Line 3 oil pipeline overhaul is necessary, Enbridge says

The Minnesota Department of Commerce said this week it was "reasonable" to conclude the state would be better off without the pipeline.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Sept. 13, 2017 at 6:50 AM
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Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Pipeline company Enbridge said it disagreed with an assessment on an oil pipeline overhaul in Minnesota, saying demand levels warrant improvements.

Enbridge Energy said it needs to make improvements on its Line 3 system that runs from Canada through Minnesota. The proposal for Line 3 includes a $4.2 billion Canadian component and a $2.9 billion U.S. component and the company said replacements and upgrades to the system are the most efficient way to ensure the infrastructure is reliable.

The Minnesota Commerce Department submitted testimony to the state Public Utilities Commission, the Commerce Department earlier this week. Coordinating with consultant group London Economics International, the department said "it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built" because of steady demand for refined products in Minnesota and the "serious risks" to the environment.

In response, Enbridge said in a statement that the Commerce Department's position was only one view of the program and a position with which it disagrees. The company said the overall demand for fuels in Minnesota and the broader energy sector warrants the infrastructure, even if demand were to decline.

In its latest market report, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries raised its forecast for global demand.

Enbridge added that state environmental reviews found the overhaul would be better than keeping the existing network in service. The company said it was ready to provide its own testimony after review the Commerce Department's filing.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he was waiting until the entire review process was completed, adding the Public Utilities Commission was independent of his administration. The Public Utilities Commission is expected to make a decision on the project by early 2018.

Enbridge last year backed out of its planned Sandpiper pipeline through Minnesota and instead put resources behind the Dakota Access pipeline.

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