An Enbridge oil pipeline in a channel linking two of the Great Lakes was recently damaged, in a July 23, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

An Enbridge oil pipeline in a channel linking two of the Great Lakes was recently damaged, in a July 23, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Enbridge says contractor vessels may have damaged pipeline

Environmental groups want pipeline decommissioned

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Recent damage that prompted the temporary shutdown of an Enbridge oil pipeline in a channel linking two of the Great Lakes may have been done by vessels working for the company, according to an in-house report provided Thursday to The Associated Press.

Enbridge this week submitted to government agencies the results of its investigation into “disturbances” that were discovered during inspections of dual pipelines that run across Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac. The two pipelines are part of Line 5, which carries oil and liquids used in propane between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.

The Canadian company said it had narrowed down a list of vessels known to have been operating in the area that might have dragged a mooring cable across the pipelines, bending a support structure and scraping protective outer coating.

Four of the five likeliest suspects were Enbridge contractors doing maintenance or geotechnical work related to the company’s plan to build a tunnel for a replacement pipeline beneath the straits, the report said.

The other was a dredging craft, it said, adding that efforts were continuing to determine what was responsible.

The damage was minor and didn’t endanger either pipeline’s structural integrity, the report said.

“Our investigators determined conclusively there was no internal or external metal loss, no dents and no safety issues with either the east or west segments and the pipelines are safe to operate,” spokesman Ryan Duffy said.

Enbridge sent its findings to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Michigan attorney general’s office and the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. The state agencies said they were studying the document and had no immediate reaction. The federal agency did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has called repeatedly for the shutdown of Line 5, saying the 4-mile-long (6.4-kilometre-long) underwater segment is vulnerable to a rupture that could do catastrophic harm to the straits between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

Environmental groups and Native American tribes also want the pipeline decommissioned.

A state judge granted a request from Nessel to close the line June 25 after Enbridge reported the damage. The judge later allowed the flow to resume through the western line, while keeping the eastern line closed pending further inspections.

The Enbridge report said the nature of the damage and drag marks in the lakebed pointed to a cable or anchor from a small or “moderately sized” vessel. An anchor from one of the large commercial ships that transit the straits would have left a deeper gash, it said.

Enbridge says it has stepped up security measures in the straits since a 6-ton (5.44-metric tonne) barge and tugboat anchor struck Line 5 in April 2018. They have focused primarily on avoiding contact with larger vessels but are being expanded to prevent encounters with smaller ones, Duffy said. A patrol boat now operates in the area at all times, he said.

By The Associated Press

oil and gas

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Boston Pizza is one of the Wetaskiwin restaurants currently setting up a patio for in-person dining. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
City of Wetaskiwin to wave permit fees for temporary patio applications

City of Wetaskiwin Council unanimously carried a motion at the regular April… Continue reading

Kevin Buffalo in his traditional chicken dance regalia. (Photo submitted)
3rd Inaugural Grouse Symposium goes online

Virtual symposium will be held April 24

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. announces signage along Alberta border to discourage non-essential travel

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

Ryan Applegarth. (RCMP photo)
Preliminary hearing date set for Applegarth

Ryan Jake Applegarth appeared briefly before the Ponoka Provincial Court over CCTV… Continue reading

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Most Read