Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership has applied to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for a certificate of need and a pipeline routing permit for its Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project. The Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project is described as an integrity and maintenance driven project that would involve the construction of 337 miles of new 36-inch diameter pipeline to replace 282 miles of the existing 34-inch Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota. The new Line 3 would be capable of delivering all grades of crude oil and is generally expected to serve the same markets and transport the same product mix as the existing Line 3. Once the new Line 3 pipeline has been installed, tested, and is operational, the existing Line 3 pipeline would be permanently deactivated in adherence with federal regulations.
The pipeline route proposed by Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership for the new Line 3 pipeline would generally follow the existing Line 3 pipeline along the Enbridge Mainline System right-of-way from the North Dakota-Minnesota border in Kittson County, Minnesota to Enbridge's existing terminal facility in Clearbrook, Minnesota. From the terminal in Clearbrook the pipeline route would proceed south and generally follow the existing Minnesota Pipe Line Company’s right-of-way to Hubbard, Minnesota. From Hubbard the pipeline route would proceed east traversing greenfield land in addition to following portions of existing electric transmission line and railroad rights-of-way before crossing the Minnesota-Wisconsin border approximately five miles east-southeast of Wrenshall, Minnesota. The pipeline route would end at the existing Enbridge terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Enbridge's proposed pipeline route would cross portions of Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Clearwater, Hubbard, Wadena, Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin, and Carlton counties. The new Line 3 pipeline would require between 25 and 65 feet of new right-of-way depending on the specific location. Associated facilities would include eight pumping stations, valves, metering and monitoring equipment, and related electrical facilities.
As indicated in Enbridge’s applications, the purpose of the Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project is to replace the Minnesota portion of the existing Line 3 pipeline to: 1) address known integrity risks, 2) reduce apportionment due to decreased transport capacity related to integrity issues, and 3) restore flexibility to the Enbridge Mainline System for more efficient operation. The new Line 3 pipeline would have an annual average capacity of 760,000 barrels per day and would serve the same markets and transport the same products as the existing Line 3 pipeline. Operationally, the new Line 3 pipeline would continue to transport crude from Canada to the Enbridge terminal facility in Clearbrook for subsequent delivery to Minnesota refineries via interconnected pipeline facilities operated by Minnesota Pipeline Company, and would deliver crude oil to the Superior Wisconsin terminal for subsequent delivery on the Enbridge Mainline System to refineries in the Midwest, Eastern Canada, and the Gulf Coast.