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Enbridge proposes economic benefits of Line 9 pipeline project

World Pipelines,

Enbridge Inc.’s 831 km pipeline has been thrust into the spotlight as the company seeks to reverse the flow of Line 9 and increase its capacity from 240 000 bpd to 300 000 bpd.

Line 9 reversal

Originally flowing eastward, Line 9 was reversed in 1998 as foreign oil from areas such as West Africa and the Middle East became more affordable. However, because Western Canadian crude oil is now priced significantly lower than foreign oil, Enbridge has made a regulatory application to Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) to reverse the flow of Line 9.

In a bid to convince NEB of the merits of its pipeline project, Enbridge has insisted upon the economic benefits, whilst claiming criticism of the plan has been nothing short of “irresponsible”.

Economic benefits

Earlier this week, NEB hearings on the project began with Enbridge’s argument. Enbridge proposed that the plan to expand and reverse the flow of the oil pipeline corresponds with market demands.

A Dentons Canada LLP lawyer acting for Enbridge, Douglas Crowther, said there is “substantial commercial support for the project.” He added “The evidence amply demonstrated that the project is needed and that, if approved, would yield substantial benefits for shippers, Western Canadian oil producers and others alike.”

According to an economic paper published by the Montreal Economic Institute in late August, the proposed Line 9 reversal is considered a critical step in ensuring the future of Quebec’s refining and petrochemical industries.

In addition, whilst environmentalists suggest the project will put a number of communities at risk, Enbridge insists safety is its top priority. Enbridge says the pipeline is constantly monitored and can be shut down in up to 10 minutes if an unexplained reading comes in.

Enbridge Vice President, Mark Lawson, said "If a leak happens we have to be able to respond to it, but the focus isn't on planning for a leak, it's really focusing on making sure we've done the operations and maintenance component to make sure this doesn't happen."

Quebec government

In a jobs strategy document released this week, the Quebec government said it considers the Enbridge project to have several “economic advantages.” It said the pipeline project would foster the sustainability of Quebec industries related to petroleum and meet the objective of ensuring the long-term security of its oil supply.

The Quebec government is to hold its own consultations of the Line 9 project before the end of 2014, independent of the NEB hearings.

Edited from various sources by Hannah Priestley-Eaton

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