Enbridge pipeline replacement will improve safety and benefit Manitobans

The Line 3 replacement program is an essential safety and maintenance project that will replace an existing pipeline with the most advanced pipeline technology, restoring it to its full operating capacity — it is not an expansion.

Line 3 construction necessary to safely return pipeline to original full capacity, project director writes

Enbridge's Line 3 replacement program will create 3,200 temporary jobs, project director Guy Krepps writes. (Courtland Klein)

This column was written in response to an opinion titled Enbridge's Line 3 expansion is all risk, no reward.

​Enbridge has deep ties in southern Manitoba, with significant assets and operations running from the Saskatchewan border near Cromer and south to Gretna. 

We have a 65-plus-year history of contributing to Manitoba's economy, investing in local communities and safely transporting the oil people want and need to support their everyday lives, to heat homes and power industry. 

Our employees and contractors live and work in Manitoba communities and care deeply about ensuring oil is transported safely and sustainably.

That commitment to safety is a key reason why we are replacing Line 3, part of our mainline system and critical energy infrastructure that supports our economy and assures a reliable and cost-effective supply of energy. 

We understand the community is interested in the Line 3 replacement program and we are glad to share information, as we have been doing for the past several years and will continue to do as construction moves forward on this project. 

First, this is an essential safety and maintenance project that will replace an existing pipeline with the most advanced pipeline technology, restoring it to its full operating capacity — it is not an expansion. This will reduce future maintenance activities and disruptions to both landowners and the environment.

In the long run, replacing Line 3 is the safest and most efficient way to restore Line 3.

The pipeline runs from Hardisty, Alta., to the Manitoba-U.S. border south of Gretna, and into North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Line 3 replacement received regulatory approval from the federal government in November 2016 and has strong support from some Manitoba municipalities and the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.

Landowner support

The replacement project had the most extensive engagement program in Enbridge history and has 100 per cent support from right-of-way landowners in Canada, including a negotiated agreement with the Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowner Associations on both construction and decommissioning of the old line.

There are also 53 agreements with approximately 75 Indigenous communities or groups covering issues such as traditional land use, procurement, training and employment opportunities, environmental stewardship and construction monitoring.

In addition to enhancing safety, this project is delivering jobs and economic benefits to the Prairie provinces and Canada as a whole, including many Indigenous communities.

Enbridge has spent approximately $100 million to date on contracting and labour, training, capacity building and community sustainability initiatives; we anticipate this number will be much higher when construction is complete. The work is projected to create 3,200 temporary jobs, both direct and indirect, in Manitoba alone.

Enbridge launched Line 3 replacement construction in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2017, along with some facilities work in Manitoba. Pipeline construction is expected to continue this summer. 

Long after construction is complete, Manitoba will continue to benefit from Line 3 and other Enbridge assets and operations within the province.

Beyond the salaries paid to Manitoba-based employees, which benefit local economies, Enbridge is a significant contributor to the broader economy in Manitoba. Enbridge paid more than $10 million in property tax in 2016 across Manitoba and an additional $6 million in other taxes — government revenue that goes toward things like hospitals, roads and other programs that benefit Manitobans.

Fund local programs

As a company that delivers the energy that we all need for our daily lives, there's nothing that matters more to Enbridge than safe, healthy and sustainable communities. 

We don't just operate in communities, we live in them and as a good neighbour are committed to investing in local initiatives and programs. 

In the past four years, Enbridge has invested more than $1.5 million in community-strengthening initiatives across Manitoba — supporting numerous not-for-profit agencies in the province — aligned to our three focus areas of health and safety, environment and community. Additional community investments will be made during the replacement project. While Manitoba investments haven't been announced yet, the first community to receive support was Provost, Alta., where the money has helped fund library programs, the campground, playground, museum and emergency services equipment.

The bottom line is this — Line 3 is an essential maintenance project that will improve safety, create jobs and, perhaps most importantly, ensure the continued safe and reliable delivery of the oil we all need and use in our daily lives.  

Providing safe pipeline infrastructure is the foundation of Enbridge's business. Investments like the one we are making in Line 3 — which is 100 per cent paid through private funds — are critical to the ongoing safe operation of all Enbridge pipelines and infrastructure.

This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor's blog and our FAQ.

About the Author

Guy Krepps

Guy Krepps is project director, Line 3, Enbridge Pipelines Inc.