Officials and technical experts from Enbridge Pipelines Inc. hosted a public open house session June 4, at Matilda Hall in Dixon’s Corners to discuss a “relatively small, simple project.”
Michelle Wasylyshen, government relations manager, Ontario, explained that the $300 million project is relatively simple because it involves no new infrastructure, and creates no new environmental footprint.
Involved is the Enbridge oil pipleline, which runs through South Dundas, South Stormont and South Glengarry, approximately 10 km north of Highway 401.
Enbridge has applied to reverse the flow of Line 9, to allow it to bring oil products from the west to refineries in Quebec.
Line 9 is an existing 30 inch diameter, 831 km pipeline with a current capacity of 240,000 barrels per day. It was built in 1976.
“This is a good news story for all Canadians,” she said, explaining that the flow reversal will mean more Canadian oil for Canadian refineries.
Presently the flow brings outside oil to Canadian refineries. Enbridge’s customers want the change as the market is now such that Canadian oil sells for about $25 less a barrel than offshore oil.
Enbridge has also requested a 60,000 barrel a day increase in the amount of product that can be shipped.
The pipeline will carry mainly light crude oil, but some of the time could carry heavy crudes such as diluted bitumen, a type of crude oil sourced from the oil sands.
According to Wasylyshen, Enbridge is careful to ensure that all products travelling through the pipeline are not detrimental to the infrastructure.
The increase in capacity will be achieved through the use of drag reducing agent and by the addition of new pumps, high flow impellers, replacement of piping and valves at existing pump stations. This allows for increased capacity with minimal requirement for new infrastructure and no increase in operating pressure.
While Enbridge is seeking these approvals from the National Energy Board, the meeting in Dixon’s Corners, and the others held throughout communities across the province, are not part of the approval process.
These meetings are part of Enbridge’s proactive approach.
“Over the last decade, we’ve transported almost 12 billion barrels of crude oil with a safe delivery record better than 99.999 percent,” said Wasylyshen. “The goal is to never stop striving for 100 per cent. Our goal at Enbridge is – and will continue to be – the prevention of all spills.”
In recent months, Enbridge has run several in-line inspection tools to provide data on the condition of the pipeline. Analysis of that data shows areas of the line where further inspection is required. Where those integrity digs are required, excavations, examinations and repairs, if necessary, will be done.
There will be 32 of those digs taking place across South Dundas, 26 in South Stormont and 27 in South Glengarry.
Shaun Dawe, a technical expert with Enbridge explained that this number of digs is not out of the ordinary. According to Dawe, pipelines don’t necessarily have a lifespan. “They are managed to have an indefinite lifespan, though I wouldn’t say infinite,” he explained.
The actual excavations, examinations/repairs are expected to begin mid to late August and carry through to the end of the year.
Pipelines are subject to municipal property taxes. In 2012, Enbridge paid property taxes of $296,000 to South Dundas, $302,000 to South Stormont and $303,000 to South Glengarry.