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Map: Another Major Tar Sands Pipeline Seeking U.S. Permit

Canadian energy giant Enbridge is quietly building a 5,000-mile network of new and expanded pipelines that would achieve the same goal as the Keystone.

Jun 3, 2013

Canadian company Enbridge Inc. is expanding its network of pipelines to carry thousands of additional barrels of oil to and through the United States each day. Credit: Paul Horn.

While all eyes are on TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, another Canadian company is quietly building a 5,000-mile network of new and expanded pipelines that would achieve the same goal as the Keystone. In fact, the project by Enbridge, Inc., Canada’s largest transporter of crude oil, would bring even more Canadian oil into the U.S. than the much-debated Keystone project.

Enbridge has already begun growing its existing pipeline infrastructure to increase the flow of Canadian and U.S.-produced oil into refineries and ports in the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Northeastern Canada. The company’s plans have largely escaped public scrutiny, in part because its expansion has proceeded in many segments and phases.

The linchpin of Enbridge’s Canadian oil transport system is its proposal to increase the capacity of Line 67 (often referred to as the Alberta Clipper pipeline) to bring an additional 430,000 barrels a day of oil into the United States. Line 67 runs from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisc. and currently ships up to 450,000 barrels of oil a day. Enbridge wants to expand the line’s capacity to 570,000 barrels a day, with the possibility of future growth to 880,000 barrels a day. That’s larger than the Keystone XL’s proposed daily capacity of 830,000 barrels.

Because Line 67 crosses the U.S.-Canada border, it needs a presidential permit from the State Department before it can be expanded. That’s the same kind of permit TransCanada is seeking for the northern segment of Keystone XL. The Obama administration is expected to approve or deny the Keystone permit by the end of 2013. For Enbridge, the application process has just begun: the State Department is reviewing public comments on the scope of the environmental review.

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