Bad news for Alberta: Line 3 pipeline delayed 6 to 12 months

Enbridge Line 3
A Minnesota judge has agreed that the Enbridge Line 3 replacement project is necessary, but has rejected the Calgary-based company's preferred route.  Enbridge graphic.

The startup of Enbridge’s Line 3 will be delayed six to 12 months because of delays obtaining permits from the State of Minnesota, the company announced Friday.  Alberta oil producers were counting on the $9 billion, 375,000 barrel a day pipeline to be in service by the end of 2019. The timing couldn’t be worse for an industry that is already 190,000 barrels a day short of shipping capacity.

The permitting timeline indicates that the certifications on all remaining State permits required for the construction of Line 3 will be provided by November. Enbridge anticipates that the remaining Federal permits will be finalized approximately 30 to 60 days thereafter, the company said in a press release.

“We now have a firm schedule from the State on the timing of the remaining permits for our Line 3 Replacement project,” said CEO Al Monaco.

“We support a robust and transparent permitting process that includes opportunity for public input. We’ll continue to work closely with State officials during this process.”

The new permitting schedule updates the Company’s prior expectation for the receipt of final State permits in the second quarter of 2019, which underpinned an expected in-service date before the end of this year.

In light of this permitting timeline, the Company is developing a revised construction schedule for the Line 3 Replacement Project, but now expects an in-service date during the second half of 2020.

More specific timing on the in-service date, as well as any potential impacts on the 2020 financial outlook, will be provided once the revised construction schedule is finalized, the company said. Enbridge’s 2019 distributable cash flow guidance range of $4.30 to $4.60/share remains unchanged as a result of the new schedule.

“We appreciate the State’s ongoing efforts in this regard and will continue to work with the State agencies and the Administration to ensure that this critical safety-driven project is completed in a timely manner,” said Monaco.

“We also want to thank all stakeholders, including resident Tribes in Minnesota, various labour groups, local landowners, and the many counties and municipalities along the right of way for their continued support.”

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