Oil is set to begin flowing as soon as September through Enbridge Inc.’s disputed Line 3 replacement pipe, moving more Canada supply to the Lower 48, according to a filing with the Canada Energy Regulator (CER).

Line 3

Enbridge disclosed the target in a request for CER approval to collect a shipping toll surcharge that would cover costs of the $9 billion project when completion of its hotly contested Minnesota leg enables deliveries.

“Construction of the Line 3 replacement program…could be completed within the next 30 to 60 days, which will allow the Line 3 replacement pipeline to commence service as early as Sept. 15,” according to the filing.

Regulatory approvals have been granted for the amount of the 90 cents/bbl toll surcharge to use the conduit’s full 1,031-mile length to the Chicago region from central Alberta.

The new Line 3 is forecast to give Canadian exporters, which are led by the country’s top natural gas user, Alberta thermal oilsands production, an added 370,000 b/d of capacity. The project replaces 53-year-old pipe and enables an operating pressure gain.

The toll surcharge is liable to change after the CER renders a verdict on a contested Enbridge proposal to convert its oil network into a long-term contract service after 70 years of selling delivery service as monthly capacity bookings open to all comers.

The Line 3 replacement program is complete in Canada, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Work began last fall on the 340-mile final leg across Minnesota for $2.6 billion after a six-year regulatory ordeal ended in approvals by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

However, disputes continue. Pipeline foes organized as the Water Protectors protest brand have defied court injunctions, with some chaining themselves to project hardware and damaging construction contractor equipment.

Although Line 3 opponents have lost all their lawsuits to date in state and federal courts, formal resistance in legal arenas is also still underway.

The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Honor the Earth and Sierra Club have petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to overturn verdicts that upheld the Line 3 approvals. A decision is awaited on whether the case will be heard.

In a novel legal arena, a Minnesota White Earth Nation lawyer has filed a lawsuit against Line 3 in a tribal court on behalf of wild rice, as a “rights of nature case.” Indigenous pipeline foes admit a tribal tribunal has no power to overturn project regulatory approvals but say a verdict in their favor may influence mainstream U.S. courts.

Calgary-based Enbridge said “Line 3 construction permits include conditions that specifically protect wild rice waters. As a matter of fact, Enbridge pipelines have coexisted with Minnesota’s most sacred and productive wild rice stands for over seven decades.”