Enbridge Pipelines Inc. received permission from Canada’s National Energy Board to proceed with its Line 9B Reversal and Line 9 Capacity Expansion project. NEB approved the project with conditions, allowing Enbridge to operate all of Line 9 in an eastward direction, moving crude from western Canada and the US Bakken shale to refineries in Ontario and Quebec.
Enbridge will reverse flow on a 639-km segment of Line 9B between North Westover, Ont., and Montreal, Que., and increase Line 9’s overall capacity to 300,000 b/d from 240,000 b/d from Sarnia to Montreal. Enbridge will also be allowed to transport heavy crude oil.
The approval is subject to Enbridge fulfilling 30 conditions, including requiring Enbridge to undertake activities regarding pipeline integrity, emergency response, and continued consultation. NEB’s reasons for decision and conditions also reference Enbridge’s ongoing emergency response planning and consultation with municipalities, first responders, and Aboriginal groups.
NEB in 2012 approved reversal of the western portion of Line 9, a 194-km section linking Sarnia to North Westover (OGJ Online, July 30, 2012). This reversal was completed last August and Line 9A now flows in a west-to-east direction supplying Imperial Oil’s 112,000-b/d Nanticoke refinery.
Reaction from the environmental community was quick and pointed. “While today’s ruling brings the threat of tar sands to New England’s doorstep, it will only stiffen the resolve of New Englanders who have adamantly rejected the idea of allowing tar sands into the region at every turn,” said Jim Murphy, National Wildlife Federation legal counsel. “New England will refuse to accept the risks of this carbon-intensive dirty fuel, and instead continue the push forward for a clean, advanced energy future that will benefit our children and wildlife.”