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Norman Wells oil production to resume after Line 21 pipeline approved to re-open

For the first time in two years, the Line 21 pipeline is set to re-open. An Imperial Oil spokesperson said that the company is beginning work to re-start oil production in Norman Wells.

869-kilometre pipeline carries crude oil from Norman Wells, N.W.T. to Zama, Alberta

The 869 kilometre pipeline carries crude oil from Norman Wells, N.W.T. to Zama, Alberta where it connects with another line. It shut down in 2016 after a riverbank beneath a portion of the line near Fort Simpson had become unstable. (NEB)

For the first time in two years, Enbridge's Line 21 pipeline from Norman Wells, N.W.T. to northern Alberta has reopened.

The 869 kilometre pipeline carries crude oil from Norman Wells to Zama, Alberta where it connects with another line. It shut down in 2016 after a riverbank beneath a portion of the line near Fort Simpson, N.W.T. had become unstable.

In early 2017, Imperial Oil suspended oil production in Norman Wells because of the Line 21 shutdown. On Tuesday, a spokesperson said they are beginning work to re-start production.

Repairs began in June after receiving approval in January. On Monday, the National Energy Board announced the pipeline had been approved to reopen.

A spokesperson for Enbridge told CBC the company began preparing the line to become operational on Tuesday.

Imperial Oil plans to re-start production in Norman Wells

In early 2017, Imperial Oil suspended oil production in Norman Wells because of the Line 21 shutdown. At the time, the company wouldn't say whether it would re-start oil production once the pipeline was repaired.

A spokesperson for Imperial Oil said that the company plans to re-start production in Norman Wells and that they are beginning the work to do that, but could not give a specific timeline.

Early this year, Enbridge began repairing the portion of the line that runs under the Mackenzie River. The $53-million project brought approximately 120 jobs to the area, according to Enbridge spokesperson Jesse Semko.

Semko couldn't say how many of those jobs were filled locally, but did say local companies were used for a number of services like trucking, camp services and wildlife monitoring.

The repair work was initially opposed by the Liidlii Kue First Nation in Fort Simpson after leaders said they weren't properly consulted. But in January, Chief Gerald Antoine announced the First Nation had changed its stance, offering full support to the project.

Corrections

  • This story previously stated that construction on repairs began eight months ago. In fact, construction began in June after receiving National Energy Board approval eight months ago.
    Sep 26, 2018 10:04 AM CT

About the Author

Hilary Bird

Reporter

Hilary Bird is a reporter with CBC North in Yellowknife. She has been reporting on Indigenous issues and politics for almost a decade and has won several national awards for her work. Hilary can be reached at hilary.bird@cbc.ca