Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) (NYSE:ENB) announced today that after a rigorous and thorough regulatory review process, Canada's pipeline regulator, the National Energy Board (NEB) has approved the flow reversal and expansion of Enbridge's Line 9B between Westover, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. Combined with the previously approved project to reverse Line 9A between Sarnia, Ontario and Westover, these projects will enable the delivery of reliable, competitive North American crude oil for Ontario and Quebec based refineries.
The NEB, in its decision stated that: "The Board's decision enables Enbridge to react to market forces and provide benefits to Canadians, while at the same time implementing the Project in a safe and environmentally sensitive manner."
"The benefits of the reversal of Line 9B are clear," said Al Monaco, President and Chief Executive Officer, Enbridge Inc. "For Quebec, bringing a new, reliable supply of competitively priced crude oil to respond to the needs of Quebec-based refineries will protect more than 4,000 jobs, sustain a vibrant petrochemical industry and strengthen the economy. For our customers, Line 9B reversal is an important component of our broader market access initiatives to open up and expand connections to key refining markets. Core to our strategy is to reduce our industry's environmental footprint which is why our first choice is always to use existing infrastructure."
The NEB's approval is subject to fulfillment of 30 conditions. The Line 9B Reversal and Capacity Expansion Project team is reviewing requirements and developing a scope of work to fulfill the conditions outlined in the NEB's decision, which comes after nearly two years of Enbridge's extensive engagement and consultation with stakeholders.
"The public review of the Line 9B Project has been extensive, open and thorough," said Mr. Monaco. "We recognize the significant efforts of the many groups and individuals that have contributed to this process and we appreciate and respect the support as well as the concerns that have been raised by governments, First Nations groups, environmental organizations, municipalities and private citizens. We particularly appreciate the involvement of members of the Quebec coalition.
"We've undertaken extraordinary steps in our consultation with stakeholders on Line 9B -- we've listened carefully and we're acting on stakeholder input to address concerns and further enhance safety. The approval of this project is not the end of the process for us. We look forward to continuing our efforts to build trust in these communities and continue the discussion of how to make a safe and well performing pipeline even safer."
The reversal of Line 9B, a 639-kilometre section of Line 9 from Westover to Montreal, represents the second and final phase of Enbridge's Eastern Canadian Refinery Access Initiative. The NEB approved the reversal of Line 9A, a 246 km section between Sarnia and Westover on July 27, 2012. Enbridge completed the reversal in August, 2013 and Line 9A is flowing in a west to east direction providing supply to Ontario's Nanticoke refinery.
Enbridge has been operating the Line 9 pipeline - an existing 762-mm (30-inch) diameter pipeline, with a current capacity of approximately 240,000 barrels per day - safely and reliably since 1976. The company's Eastern Canadian Refinery Access Initiative is expected to help level the playing field for Canadian refineries, safeguard jobs, and bolster the security of Canada's energy supply.