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Enbridge Energy Partners settles on Marshall and Romeoville incidents

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World Pipelines,

Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. (EEP or the Partnership) and Enbridge Inc. have recently announced the signing of a consent decree with the US Department of Justice (USDOJ) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) by the Partnership and certain affiliates. The decree relates to incidents on the Line 6B pipeline in Marshall, Michigan, in July 2010, and on the Line 6A pipeline in Romeoville, Illinois, in September 2010. The decree will take effect following a comment period and upon approval by the US District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

Both Line 6B and Line 6A are part of the Lakehead Pipeline system and owned by Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership, a subsidiary of EEP."From the beginning, we've taken responsibility for the Line 6B release. We accept the civil penalties and enhanced safety measures in the decree. The enhanced safety measures included in the decree are consistent with our approach to safety and integrity and our current practices and have largely been implemented over the past six years," said Mark Maki, President for the Partnership. "In fulfilling the terms of the agreement, we will co-operate with the US Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."

There are three primary components of the decree:

Civil penalties

The decree sets civil penalties under the Clean Water Act of US$61 million relating to the Line 6B release and an additional sum of US$1 million related to the Line 6A release, each payable within 30 days of the effective date of the decree. The amount of the penalties largely had been accrued by EEP and included in previously reported total estimated costs related to the 6B release. EEP has previously resolved claims for natural resource damages, as detailed in the decree, and in May 2015, signed an agreement with the State of Michigan with respect to mitigation payments.

Safety measures

The safety measures set out in the decree codify and build on continuous improvements that have been implemented since 2010 including enhancements to the comprehensive in-line inspection-based spill prevention programme; enhanced measures to protect the Straits of Mackinac along the Line 5 straits crossing; improved leak detection requirements; installation of new valves to control product loss in the event of an incident; continued enhancement of control room operations; and enhanced spill response capabilities. The total cost of these measures is estimated to be approximately US$110 million throughout the four-year term of the decree and is already largely incorporated in EEP's operational and capital expense planning.

Pipeline replacement

EEP replaced the entire 285 mile length of Line 6B in 2014.

In 2014, Enbridge and its customers agreed to the full replacement of Line 3 in Canada. EEP and its customers agreed to the full replacement of Line 3 in the US and embarked on engineering, design, environmental and permitting activities that are substantially advanced. Pending regulatory approvals, the new 292 mile US segment between Neche, North Dakota and Superior, Wisconsin, is anticipated to be placed in service in early 2019. The estimated cost of approximately US$2.6 billion is included in EEP's long-term capital investment plan. The decree directs EEP to continue with this project.

Lessons learnt

Commenting on the decree, Al Monaco, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enbridge said: "From the beginning, Enbridge and EEP made a commitment to the people of Michigan that we would clean up and restore the Kalamazoo River and surrounding areas, and cover the costs. We've done that. We've worked extremely hard to fulfil our commitments and make good on our promises. That accountability continues with today's announcement.

"The learnings from our experience have made us a better company and the way we think about safety has changed. Over the past six years, we've intensified our focus on the safety and integrity of our systems enterprise-wide and we've invested significantly in our people, processes, equipment and technology. Across Enbridge, our team is galvanised by our number one priority of safety and reliability of our systems and the protection of the public and the environment."

Following the Marshall spill, between 2010 and 2014, Enbridge and EEP significantly enhanced efforts to better understand the condition of its pipelines and mitigate risks, while increasing staffing dedicated to preventative measures, maintaining system fitness and leak detection and pipeline control. Enterprise-wide, Enbridge executed a comprehensive maintenance and inspection programme using sophisticated inspection tools available, with a total investment of nearly US$5 billion.

Enbridge and EEP continue to invest significantly in maintenance and integrity management programmes across its enterprise in the US and Canada. In 2015, Enbridge achieved record safety performance across its liquids pipeline systems, safely delivering more than 2.8 billion bbls of crude oil used to create gasoline, jet fuel and a variety of products essential to our daily lives.

"Our substantial investment has increased our confidence that our system is safe and reliable and enables us to provide greater comfort to our stakeholders that we're doing everything we can to protect them," said Mr. Monaco, "We're proud of having achieved industry-leading performance in 2015. But while that's good, we're not satisfied. No incident is acceptable to us and our safety culture challenges us to continually strive for our goal of zero incidents."

Adapted from press release by Anna Nicklin

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