We periodically get requests for background information on the Midwestern expansion plans of Enbridge and its various affiliated companies.  This page is an attempt to gather some of that information in one place.  Some of the content has kindly been provided by members of our New Voices Project.  Here are questions we get frequently that we hope to help address:

•  What is Enbridge’s expansion all about? What and how much are they trying to move and where are they trying to take it?
•  Need for clear descriptions/maps of their various pipelines and routes.
•  What are the various forces driving this expansion?
•  What is Enbridge’s spill/incident history along this system?
•  What is PHMSA’s enforcement history on this Enbridge system?
•  What can states and local communities along this system do to ensure safer pipelines?
•  Links to contacts to organizations and agencies most involved, including the various governmental authorities.

After the Marshall, Michigan Spill

After the 2010 Marshall spill into Talmadge Creek, Enbridge chose to replace its much of Line 6B rather than continuing to maintain an aging line.  (Find the NTSB report on the Marshall incident here.) The replacement also affords Enbridge the opportunity to dramatically increase the capacity of Line 6B by putting in a larger diameter pipeline operating at a higher pressure.  There are other Enbridge pipeline expansions occurring or planned for the next few years. For a great deal of the project’s history, the approval of Phase 2 of the project by the Michigan Public Service Commission, and a landowner’s perspective on living through a replacement project, see the Line 6B Citizens’ Blog. The Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Marshall spill by Inside Climate News can be found here.  Inside Climate News also published a set of maps and brief descriptions of each of Enbridge’s lines and the relevant expansion plans and timelines here.

The Enbridge website

Here is the Enbridge description of some of their midwestern projects, many of which are already underway:

Lakehead System Expansion (Line 61 and Line 67): Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P., is proposing to expand its Lakehead System. The expansion of the Lakehead System includes $0.4 billion of projects to expand capacity of the Lakehead System mainline between its origin at the Canada/U.S. border, near Neche, North Dakota, to Flanagan, Illinois. The projects include an expansion of the Alberta Clipper line (Line 67) between the border and Superior, Wisconsin from 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 570,000 bpd; and expansion of the 42-inch Southern Access Line (Line 61) between Superior and Flanagan Terminal near Pontiac, Illinois from 400,000 bpd to 560,000 bpd. Both projects require only the addition of pumping horsepower, and crude oil tanks at existing sites with no pipeline construction, at a cost of approximately $360 million. The expansions are expected to be available for service in mid-2014 subject to finalization of scope and shipper approval. Enbridge continues discussions with shippers on scope of the expansions which could lead to an upward revision to capacity and cost.

Enbridge has approved a second phase of the Lakehead System Expansion Program that will increase capacity on Line 67 to its full 800,000 bpd of heavy crude potential. Subject to the timing of required federal and state regulatory approvals, Phase 2 of the is expected to be in-service in 2015 and requires the addition of pumping horsepower and crude oil tanks at existing sites with no pipeline construction outside station facilities.

Line 62 (Spearhead North Pipeline): Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P., proposes to expand the Spearhead North Pipeline (Line 62). The expansion of Line 62 between Flanagan, Illinois and the Terminal at Griffith, Indiana will increase capacity from 135,000 bpd to 235,000 bpd by adding horsepower. An additional 330,000 barrel tank will be added at Enbridge’s Terminal in Griffith.

(Line 6B Phase 2 Replacement Project): Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P., plans to replace a total of approximately 210 miles of existing 30-inch diameter Line 6B pipeline in Indiana and Michigan by installing new pipe. This Line 6B Phase 2 Replacement Project responds to growing demand for pipeline transportation capacity while also reducing the frequency of future integrity inspections and individual repairs in the replacement segments. This is a combination capacity/integrity-driven project and is distinct from the integrity-driven Line 6B 2012 Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program, which involves replacing 75 miles of the same pipeline from Griffith to Ortonville in seven segments.

Combined with the previously announced scheduled replacements of 75-miles of Line 6B, the further replacements of the Line 6B Phase 2 Replacement Project will increase capacity from 240,000 bpd to 500,000 bpd on Line 6B. The Line 6B Phase 2 Replacement segments are subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Bakken Expansion Program: Enbridge Energy Partners, through its subsidiary Enbridge Pipelines (Bakken) L.L.C., is proposing a number of pipeline system expansions in North Dakota as part of our Bakken Expansion Program to add transport capacity that will help address current and future increases in crude oil production from the Bakken and Three Forks formations. More information about the Bakken Expansion Program is available on enbridge.com.

You can find an interactive map of Enbridge assets and projects on their website: http://www.enbridge.com/MediaCentre/InteractiveMap.aspx  Here’s a screenshot of that map from May 20, 2013 showing all of their liquid lines.

liquids map NA

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And here is a map showing most major pipelines connecting Canada and the US, including the existing Keystone I, the Kinder Morgan Transmountain, and the Enbridge current and proposed system, including the proposed Northern Gateway from Calgary to Kitimat, British Columbia currently undergoing public review in Canada. Please note that this is not necessarily a map of tar sands/dilbit/syncrude/oil sands products transportation. Some of the depicted pipelines are not currently carrying tar sands products.

Canadian pipelines system2

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/interactives/map-pipeline/. Accessed May 21, 2013.

Enbridge also proposes to reverse the direction of Line 9 and Line 9B in southern Ontario, expanding their capacities, and to expand the capacity of the Alberta Clipper line. Here are links to how Enbridge describes those projects:


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Sections of the Enbridge system and proposed expansions:

Alberta Clipper expansion

AC-SL Projects Map

Source: Enbridge.com

Flanagan South (new line)  :


Source: Enbridge.com

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Line 9 reversals and expansion

Line 9 Projects map FINAL Dec 18 2012

Source: Enbridge.comLine 78

Line 79 Map_PDF

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Trunkline reversal and conversion

Below is the proposed reversal of Trunkline, a pipeline currently carrying natural gas from the Gulf to the upper Midwest.  Enbridge is in a joint venture to reverse the direction of the Trunkline from the Patoka, Illinois hub to St. James, Louisiana, and to convert the gas line to a line to carry oil sands products to the Gulf Coast, completely by-passing the Cushing terminal, in hopes of getting better prices at the Gulf for the approximately 600,000 bpd the line could carry.  An application has been filed with FERC to abandon the line as a gas line; comments on the EIS close May, 2013.  The Governor of Michigan and others have filed objections to that abandonment based on concerns about pricing and availability of gas if the line is taken out of natural gas service.  The proposal also raises interesting policy questions surrounding the award of a certificate of use of federal eminent domain authority under the Natural Gas Act being used to construct a line that is then abandoned or converted to another use.



trunkline map

Trunkline Map

Source: Panhandle energy.com

Proposed Northern Gateway pipeline:  Calgary to Kitimat, British Columbia

Company information here: http://www.northerngateway.ca/

The proposal for the twin pipelines (eastbound condensate, westbound dilbit) is currently undergoing a review by a Joint Review Panel.  The company’s risk assessment of spills from the pipeline and from tankers carrying its products has recently been criticized by faculty from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver as vastly underestimating the risk of both types of spills.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/study-shows-a-higher-risk-of-northern-gateway-pipeline-spills-than-enbridge-estimated/article11670885/



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Why all the expansion and reversals?  The rush to the coast, any coast

A discussion of the expansion of Enbridge pipeline systems should start with analysis of the development of the Alberta Oil Sands (alternatively Tar Sands).  The oil sands are deposits of a type of crude petroleum known as bitumen. For a world-wide analysis of “heavy oil” deposits see the USGS report “Heavy Oil and Natural Bitumen Resources in Geological Basins of the World”: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1084/OF2007-1084v1.pdf

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) publishes an annual review of oil sands projects and a forecast of production. The latest forecast of production, Crude Oil, Forecast Markets and Pipelines, is from June 2012: http://www.capp.ca/getdoc.aspx?DocId=209546&DT=NTV. The production forecast on page 8 is very instructive.  The growth in production is primarily from in situ extraction, and almost none from mining projects.  Mining supports upgraders, while in situ production largely is diluted and shipped as diluted bitumen (dilbit).  Most in situ production is steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), which uses natural gas to produce steam that is injected into the formation to improve the flow of bitumen to a horizontal collector below the steam injection line.  Various types of flow enhancements are being investigated, including the use of solvents in the injected steam.

The grades of crude produced from the three major areas, Athabasca, Cold Lake, and Peace River are characterized on an ongoing basis at: http://www.crudemonitor.ca/

CAPP produces quarterly maps of production projects, both mining and in situ: http://www.energy.alberta.ca/LandAccess/pdfs/OilSands_Projects.pdf. Tracking this information indicates what new production can be anticipated.

The CAPP analysis of market access makes it very clear why Canadian pipeline companies have expended so much effort on getting pipelines to ocean export facilities:

“Western Canadian crude oil is virtually landlocked and as such has very limited connectivity to world markets. Growing conventional, oil shale and oil sand production has created an urgent need for additional transportation infrastructure.  Steps are being taken to address this need through a number of project proposals including new pipelines, expansions or modifications to existing infrastructure and increased transportation by rail. Pipelines will, however; continue to be the dominant mode of transportation for crude oil but it will take a few years for pipeline infrastructure to be built. In the short-term, crude oil transport by rail will increase sharply due to the ability to add rail capacity relatively quickly and in small increments as needed and utilizing the rail infrastructure already in place.”

An industry blog has published numerous articles on alternatives to pipeline transportation.  See an entry that references earlier reports at: http://www.rbnenergy.com/gulf-coast-destinations-outside-the-ship-channel

The Alberta Oilsands Industry publishes a quarterly update letter available at: http://www.albertacanada.com/files/albertacanada/AOSID_QuarterlyUpdate_Spring2013.pdf

Enbridge is usually quite informative in investor relations presentations :





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What Is Enbridge’s incident history on these systems?:

You can find information about incidents on each operator’s lines on the PHMSA website.  Enbridge’s various corporate personalities each have a separate operator ID number.  All of them (more than a dozen carrying hazardous liquids) are listed here: http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/reports/operator/Operatorlist.html?nocache=7793 

Here are some examples of the information for the larger Enbridge hazardous liquid lines:

Enbridge Energy: http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/reports/operator/OperatorIM_opid_11169.html?nocache=2403#_Incidents_tab_3

Enbridge pipelines (Ozark): http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/reports/operator/OperatorIM_opid_31947.html?nocache=2841#_Incidents_tab_3


What is DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s Enforcement history on these lines?

You can find information on each of the Enbridge systems on the PHMSA website.  Here are links to the enforcement pages for the larger systems:



When incidents occur and are investigated by PHMSA, they publish the incident reports here:


PHMSA Failure Investigation Reports from 2004 to 2011 are linked below.






National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation reports on Enbridge failures:

Cohasset NTSB report

NTSB Marshall report

Canadian Transportation Safety Board investigation into a rupture of Enbridge Line 3 releasing 200,000 gallons of crude oil in Glenavon, Saskatchewan in 2007.

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What can local communities do along these pipeline routes?

PST has compiled a diversity of information throughout the website to assist local communities and outline their options. See the following website links for particularly relevant details:

Pipeline information for local government

Pipeline routing and siting issues (briefing paper)

Emergency planning (briefing paper) 


Organizations and agencies most involved

US Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives website.

In Canada, the National Energy Board, and their links to provincial agencies, First Nations, NGOs, and industry groups; and the Joint Review Panel, Northern Gateway Project

Interested NGOs:

National Wildlife Federation – Great Lakes Regional Center

Kalamazoo River Watershed Council

Sqwalk – Energy in BC and Beyond