​Work on Enbridge Line 3 Replacement ramps up in Saskatchewan

Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Program is rapidly ramping up in Saskatchewan, with portions on the western edge and eastern side of the province soon about to hit a fever pitch as hundreds of pipeliners go to work.

The 36-inch pipeline project started last year and runs from Hardisty, Alta. to Superior, Wi. The bulk of the distance covered in Canada falls within Saskatchewan.

Much of the western portion of Saskatchewan was done last year, with just final cleanup underway in those areas. On Aug. 13 crews could be seen south of Chamberlain pulling piles and putting the last of the topsoil back.

It’s an entirely different story further to the east, from the Regina area to the Manitoba border. On Aug. 23 a herd of hydrovacs could be seen finding line crossings on the right-of-way east of Vibank. A truck was distributing portapotties at road crossings and a picker was dropping off matting for roadway ramps. Other crews were working in earnest at the site of a greenfield pumping station at Richardson, just southeast of Regina. There, a forest of pilings was in place and dozers could be seen doing dirtwork.

A tremendous stockpile of pipe, just south of the new Richardson pump station, had not yet begun to be distributed, as stringing crews were not yet in action.

On Aug. 24, David Coll, senior communications advisor with Enbridge, gave Pipeline News a progress report.

“The ramp-up will be quick,” he said. “It is getting busier everyday.”

Image: Brian Zinchuk/Pipeline News

As of Aug. 24, there were close to 300 people per spread, and that number was growing by the day. The number will ramp up to approximately 800 at each spread over time. But in late August the project was still very much in the early stages, with topsoil stripping underway.

The project is expected to be in service in the latter half of 2019. The last major project of this scale in Saskatchewan was a parallel line to this project, on the existing Enbridge mainline right-of-way. That project was known as “Alberta Clipper,” and eventually became known as Line 67. It went into service in 2010. Both Line 3 Replacement and Alberta Clipper involved 36-inch pipe.

The replacement project is to restore the Enbridge pipeline’s capacity to 760,000 bbls/d, thus adding 375,000 bbls/d of export capacity into the United States.

This fall the construction contractors including OJ Pipelines, Banister Pipelines and SA Energy will have field offices in White City, Moosomin and Kindersley.

Last year had favourable weather conditions and much of Saskatchewan this year has also been dry, again, favourable for pipeline construction.

“We are focused on safety,” Coll said, adding this is particularly important with the increased traffic on the roads.

Over the past three years Enbridge has run “Pipeline 101” training for Indigenous people. That program has now wrapped up, having graduated 260 people along the length of the project in Canada. “Many of those are working or have already worked on the Line 3 project,” Coll said.

— Pipeline News, with files from the Canadian Press