The National Energy Board on Friday approved the Enbridge Pipelines Inc. application to construct and operate the Canadian portion of the Alberta Clipper Expansion Project.
The Alberta Clipper project is a new 1,607 kilometer (km) oil pipeline
from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. The Canadian portion of the
project involves the construction and operation of facilities including
approximately 1,078 km of new 914 millimeter outside diameter (36 inch) oil
pipeline between Enbridge's Hardisty Terminal and the Canada - United States
border near Gretna, Manitoba. The pipeline would have an initial capacity of
71,500 cubic meters per day (450,000 barrels per day). The estimated cost of
the project is $2 billion with construction to be completed by the end of
In making its decision, the Board was presented with evidence from
intervenors on many issues including impacts to Aboriginal peoples and the
impact of the project on domestic interests.
"The Board is satisfied from the evidence that the Alberta Clipper
facilities are, and will be, required by the present and future public
convenience and necessity and therefore find that approval of Alberta Clipper
is in the public interest," said the Board in the Reasons for Decision.
"Today's decision marks another significant step for Enbridge in providing our customers with strategic alternatives for the marketing of Canadian crude," said Patrick D. Daniel, Enbridge's President and Chief Executive Officer. "The Alberta Clipper pipeline is the largest expansion project in Enbridge's history and demonstrates our commitment to accelerating energy delivery throughout North America. Together with our Southern Access project, Alberta Clipper will ultimately deliver an incremental 1.2 million barrels-per-day from Alberta to Eastern Canadian markets and U.S. refineries throughout the Midwest, the mid-continent and the U.S. Gulf Coast."
The NEB attached a number of conditions to the approval of this
project, including one that requires Enbridge to conduct an emergency response
exercise at its South Saskatchewan River crossing. This condition is in
response to public concerns raised during the hearing process. The exercise
tests response procedures, equipment, timing, safety procedures,
communications systems, training of company personnel, and the effectiveness
of continuing education programs. This is to be completed within six months of
the start of operation and a report on the test must be filed with the NEB.
During the public hearing process, a number of organizations and groups,
who had been registered as intervenors in the hearing, reached settlement
agreements with Enbridge. The Manitoba Pipeline Landowners Association and the
Saskatchewan Association of Pipeline Landowners both reached settlement
agreements with Enbridge prior to their planned oral hearing date. Evidence
the two groups had previously filed was treated as a letter of comment. Three
Aboriginal groups (the Red Pheasant First Nation, the Keeseekoose First Nation
and the Poundmaker First Nation) also reached settlement agreements with
Enbridge prior to their oral participation in the hearing.
Public hearings into the Alberta Clipper project began in Calgary on
Nov. 5, 2007, and included an oral hearing in Regina before concluding back
in Calgary on Nov. 26.
The NEB is an independent federal agency that regulates parts of Canada's
energy industry. Its purpose is to promote safety and security, environmental
protection, and efficient energy infrastructure and markets in the Canadian
public interest, within the mandate set by Parliament in the regulation of
pipelines, energy development and trade.