A Minnesota judge on Oct. 16 ruled that the state’s pollution regulator and Enbridge Inc. used proper methods for water crossing for its Line 3 oil pipeline replacement, clearing another hurdle for the project that has faced years of delay.
Judge James LaFave upheld the draft water quality certificate that Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued to Enbridge in February, quashing challenges by activist groups and Indigenous bands that had raised concerns regarding Enbridge’s intentions to protect streams and wetlands the pipeline crosses.
Line 3, built in the 1960s, carries less oil than it was designed for because of age and corrosion. Replacing it would allow the company to boost flow from an oil hub in Edmonton, Alberta, to Midwest refiners.
The report said the petitioners have failed to prove that the agency and Enbridge “undercounted the full acreage of wetlands that will be physically altered by trenching.”
A shortage of pipelines has weakened Canadian oil prices in recent years, but capacity became ample this year after deep oil production cuts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge said on Oct. 16 it continues to work with permitting agencies for the timely issuance of remaining permits in order for construction to start before year-end 2020.
The deal would create the largest pure-play northern Midland Basin E&P with a 73,000-net-acre position and 12,000 boe/d of production that is expected to more than double through 2020.
Repsol will still hold a 51% stake in the block after the deal.
The March 20 lease sale in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico brought in $244.3 million in high bids.