91.7 Grand Rapids | 90.5 Bemidji | 89.9 Brainerd
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Enbridge Energy Leaders on Progress and Need of the Line 3 Replacement Project in Northern MN


The new proposed line 3 Pipeline from Enbridge Energy travels throughout the KAXE/KBXE listening area.  The pipeline was built in the 1960s and travels from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior Wisconsin. 

Heidi Holtan was joined  in the studio by Enbridge Energy Project Director for the Line 3 Replacement Project Barry Simonson – Vice President of US Operations for Enbridge Brad Shamlo and Midwest Region Director of Operations Trent Wetmore. 

Brad Shamlo talked about the status of the Line 3 Pipeline

Three is a very important piece of energy infrastructure. It's been in service since the 1960s. It's operated safely for, for a number of decades providing, you know, important energy into the region over that timeframe. Really at a point in time when it's time to re renew the pipeline and replace it. And there's some new technologies that are being applied heavier wall steel. And we've got the project well underway in terms of the permitting and preparation and we're happy to be here today to, to talk about where we're at. Overall

Safe and reliable operation is our, our top priority. As we've maintained line three over its life and continued to keep it fit for service, we've derated the capacity of the line to ensure that it operates safely. The replacement line will essentially take the capacity back to what the original line three was capable of pumping when it was instruct constructed back in the 1960s.

 It has aged, we've reduced pressure on the existing system and that reduced the amount of oil that would move through the system.  Further to that comment, and this has been in the robust permitting process throughout the PUC in Minnesota, is that a line three has seen its share of, of safety areas where our operational group has to essentially go in and, and protect that pipe. We have external corrosion online three we have the predominant coding at the time was tape coat and some of that coding is coming off, which makes corrosion more susceptible. But from an, from a responsible operator perspective we're, we're making a conscious decision through private investment to replace that asset to continue safe operation in Minnesota.

Trent Wetmore is the Midwest region director of operations. He talked about the future of Enbridge energy.

I think when you take a step back and you look at the global picture, we're continuing to grow our, our world -  the population is growing considerably. There's a need for energy everywhere and we're continuing to progress. You hear a lot about the renewables and we're a big part of the renewables in our organization. We've invested about $8 billion in renewables. But we're, we're going to have to make that transition together and, and it's not a switch that we can just overnight. So we were going to have to continue to, to see this important infrastructure be built as we're making this important transition. And, and you can see statistically how, how quickly it has grown on the renewables front.

If you want to look at a pie chart per se, I think we've projected out over over the next 20 years or so that there's going to be a significant shift. You know, we're gonna, we're gonna see the renewables in the natural gas. The cleaner burning fossil fuels come into a much larger part of the picture where you're going to see a diminishing supply of, of, of coal fired power plants and, and even crude oil is going to, is going to become a, a lesser component.  We see that, that's why we're continuing to make these investments in the natural gas side. And we continue to see the significant investments in renewables.

We're an energy company throughout this area. We're, we're viewed as as more of a crude oil pipeline company, but overall we're, we're an energy company. Is, is what we're, is what our future is looking. And that includes not only wind, but also solar. We've got a very large facility in Ontario to again, develop that next generation energy source while we're providing for current generation needs. And it's a progression,  as Trent mentioned, we can't just flip a switch. There's a, a need for energy on a global picture. And that's something that providing it safely and responsibly is is our role as a responsible energy company