Enbridge Inc.’s planned $7 billion replacement and expansion of its Line 3 conduit, which would link Alberta’s oil fields to refineries in the U.S., was recently given the green light by regulators in the state of Minnesota. This is an important milestone for the project because it clears the way for the project to move ahead. The state’s Public Utilities Commission approved a certificate of need for the project in a 5-0 vote and signed off on a pathway for the conduit that hewed closely to Enbridge’s preferred route on a 3-2 vote. The 1,000-mi Line 3 project would help carry about 370,000 more bbl of heavy and light crude a day from Hardisty, Alberta, to a storage hub in Superior, Wisconsin.
Canada’s oil industry is closely watching two other projects: The Trans Mountain expansion, which the Canadian government agreed to buy from Kinder Morgan Inc. in May, and TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL. Trans Mountain still faces a legal challenge, but the government’s ownership has been seen as increasing its likelihood of helping overcome pushback from British Columbia and other opponents. TransCanada has yet to make a final, formal decision on whether it will build Keystone XL.