Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. said it is "actively working with the new administration" of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on plans to replace a crude oil pipeline across the state's northern tier, although it is still awaiting state and federal permits for the project.

Enbridge has proposed replacing Line 3, which was built in the 1960s to carry Canadian crude from Alberta through North Dakota and Minnesota to its terminal in Superior, WI. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) approved the plans last October and planned to hold hearings on petitions to reconsider the project.

The Line 3 replacement would allow a 370,000 b/d gain in export capacity from the Alberta oilsands. The replacement pipeline would restore deliveries to the original level of 760,000 b/d, after running at about half-capacity since 2010 because of safety restrictions.

However, the Minnesota Department of Commerce in December asked a state appeals court to reconsider the MPUC's decision last September to issue a certificate of need for the project. The appeal was filed in the final days of Gov. Mark Dayton's administration. According to reports, Walz is looking into whether his administration should continue the legal challenge.

Enbridge spokeswoman Juli Kellner told NGI's Shale Daily on Tuesday that the company was continuing to work toward "mobilizing for construction in the first quarter of 2019." Enbridge was looking "to develop a clear sense of the schedule for permitting activities" to finish the construction work in Minnesota.

The company, Kellner said, is “doing everything we can to meet our project construction milestones.” Support from Enbridge’s coalition partners “remains strong."

During Enbridge's annual investor conference last month, Executive Vice President D. Guy Jarvis said construction of the Canadian portion of the project was expected to be complete by July 1, "and planning is underway for line fill and commissioning...We still continue to believe we're going to put Line 3 in service in Canada and the U.S. by the second half of next year."

CFO John Whelen, who also spoke at the conference, said "for forecasting purposes, our models still assume a Nov. 1 in-service date." Last August, Enbridge management said it expected to complete the replacement by the second half of 2019.

The firm reached an agreement in September with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The agreement for the pipeline, which traverses the band's reservation in northeastern Minnesota, gave Enbridge easements for six existing oil pipelines through 2039.