Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 4, 2015

Understanding Enbridge’s Oil Sands Pipeline Tactic From Canada


A pipeline company intends to connect two pipelines in order to add more than 300,000 barrels per day of capacity to cross into the United States from Canada without waiting for the kind of permit that has hampered the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Citing a delay for a presidential permit and demand for getting tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to refiners, Enbridge Inc. indicated that it intends to increase capacity on its Alberta Clipper-Line 67 pipeline by swapping oil with a parallel Line 3, which carries light crude oil and runs at reduced capacity because of pressure restrictions on the decades-old line. The interconnections will allow Enbridge to add 75,000 barrels per day of capacity this year and a total of 800,000 barrels per day by mid-2015.

An increase in capacity generally requires State Department approval, but the department indicated that Enbridge’s interconnection changes did not require further approval because the oil would cross the border under existing presidential permits.

The portion of Line 3 that crosses the border has been upgraded and, according to a State Department official, there is no limit on the permitted capacity of Line 3, which was approved decades ago.

Enbridge told the State Department that it plans to put 800,000 barrels per day across the border through Line 3 and back on to Line 67 once it gets needed approvals for pumping upgrades, which it calls Phase II, from state regulators and the Army Corps of Engineers:

The interconnections will also provide Enbridge with the operational flexibility to transport crude oil in the range of 800,000 bpd of oil on Line 67 south of the Line 3 interconnection through the construction and operation of the Phase II Pump Upgrades.

As Reuters and other outlets reported, the strategy has riled environmental groups, which say the increased capacity should be reviewed by the presidential permitting process. The State Department said it will conduct an environmental review of the entire Line 67 project, but that is not slowing Enbridge’s plans for expanding capacity.



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  1. Gregory Williams

    Aug. 26, 2014
    2:52 p.m.

    Let the Canadians keep all the crude oil and its toxins on their soil – they can build pipelines to either coast on their soil and sell only refined products south of the border.

    Oops they want to export the poison to America and keep the profits in Canada – too bad that plan is not working as they screw up their environment and poison their water and land not to mention the air quality that has nose dived where this poison is being produced.

  2. Freemon Sandlewould

    Aug. 29, 2014
    8:30 p.m.

    Another lefty Luddite idiot strikes again!

    bringing oil across the border should not be subject to presidential whim.

  3. A Human Being

    Nov. 17, 2014
    8:40 p.m.

    And how do you argue that? Anything being brought into a country, that could have environmental concerns attached, would only produced minimal permanent jobs, and the majority of the revenue generated not affect America, this should be reviewed by the man who is in charge. And just because someone has concerns about the environemtn, they shouldn’t be looked at as wrong or weird. Those people want everyone to survive past the few genereations we are currently on a crash course to exhaust ourselves at.

  4. Scott Grindrod

    Nov. 18, 2014
    10:29 a.m.

    Except that is a power granted to him under the law. Sorry to burst your bubble on that one just because you don’t like him.

    Also, why doesn’t Canada refine and/or export their own oil inside their own country? Oh right, NIMBY…

    None of it is going to the US oil markets and none of it will bring down the cost of gas in the US, and ALL of the profits will be going back to a Canadian corporation. So The US takes all the pollution associated with refining AND all the environmental risks of spills over one of the countries largest aquifers but get’s almost none of the benefit.

    So wait, why do people in the US want this pipeline built?

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