West of Peebles and north of Corning, crews were working on cutting up the old Enbridge Line 3 on July 8. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

PEEBLES – The Enbridge Line 3 Replacement pipeline has been in the ground and operating in Canada for several years. The American portion went into operation Oct. 1, 2021. But that still left one more task to complete – the decommissioning of the original Line 3.

Built in the 1960s, the original Line 3 lies smack dab in the middle of the Enbridge Mainline right-of-way. That means there are at least two major pipelines running parallel on either side of Line 3, within with the adjacent pipes just three metres away. If the multiple pipes in the right of way were your hand (and your finger had seven fingers), then the original Line 3 would be your middle finger, as it were.

One of the things you absolutely should not do is run large heavy equipment over existing, operating pipelines, lest their weight possibly damage it. Really bad things can happen. That’s why whenever work is done for integrity maintenance, extensive matting or padding with additional dirt is put in place to work in these areas. Thus, it would be pretty tough to dig up and pull out this entire pipeline. So they’re not.

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It’s being decommissioned in place, as was observed near Peebles, Saskatchewan, on July 8. There, a crew working on mats had dug up the old line, cut and capped each end. It’s in a way the inverse of the creation of a pipeline. Instead of welding joints of pipe to create one solid, continual line, the line is being cut into multiple-kilometre long pieces.

David Coll, who handles communications with Enbridge, sent this in an email to Pipeline Online:

Along a 1,097-km corridor – stretching underground across the Prairies from Hardisty, Alta. to the U.S border at Gretna, Man. – is a new, 36-inch pipeline placed into service by Enbridge in October 2019.  With the above-ground pipeline right-of-way returned to its pre-construction condition, work to decommission the ‘legacy’ Line 3 continues in 2022.

“This is the final step toward completing the entire Line 3 Replacement Program in Canada,” said Construction Manager Allen Sawatzky. “We’re done in most of Manitoba and this year we’re focused on the remaining segments of Line 3 from Hardisty and throughout Saskatchewan to west of Cromer (Manitoba).”

The remaining decommissioning project will focus on three segments, beginning in June with the 255-km leg from Regina to Cromer; work from Hardisty to Regina begins in August. Each segment will have a peak workforce of about 60, including crews of between seven and 10 construction and contract personnel.

“Decommissioning is a logistically challenging job,” said Sawatzky. “It’s different than building a pipeline – you don’t just work from kilometre zero to kilometre 100 in a straight line. You go back-and-forth, from site-to-site, and the particular job in Manitoba involved 31 different locations for segmentation, valve isolation and for installing engineered material in the pipe beneath railway and road crossings.”

Enbridge Line 3 decommissioning map. Enbridge

There are five steps involved in decommissioning, according to Enbridge:

  1. Clean the pipeline: A combination of cleaning instruments (often referred to as ‘pigs’) and cleaning solution are used to wipe and clean the pipeline.
  2. Disconnect the pipeline: The pipeline is physically disconnected and sealed off from active operational facilities, like pump stations, to prevent oil from re-entering the system.
  3. Segment the pipeline: Permanent physical barriers are created inside the pipeline to prevent the pipeline from acting as a conduit. This includes valves and permanent segmentation installations. Valves are closed and permanently disabled, and small pieces of the pipeline are removed so it can be sealed at select locations. This is what was seen going on west of Peebles in early July
  4. Strategically fill the pipeline: The line will be filled with an engineered material at railway crossings, which can also provide protection against water conduits.
  5. Monitor the pipeline: Cathodic protection will continue to be applied to the decommissioned pipeline. It will be monitored with regular pipeline patrols, pipeline signs indicating exact location, and depth-of-cover surveys, and it will remain on Click Before You Dig program databases.

 

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  • 0028 SIMSA_Energy_Forum_2022
  • 0025 Kendalls
  • 0026 Buffalo Potash Quinton Salt
  • 0024 Southern Bolt Katrina Southern Folk Rock Intro
  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
  • 0015 Latus Viro PO Ad 01
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
  • 9001
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After exhausting eight-year slog, Enbridge shipped its first oil on Line 3 Replacement on Oct. 1

Line 3 completion a big deal for Saskatchewan; no shortage of ironies in energy crisis around the globe, says minister