Enbridge Seeking to Expand Crude Oil Pipeline 6B in Michigan

Enbridge Inc. is seeking to replace 210 miles of pipeline 6B in Indiana and Michigan in a $1.3-billion project to double the crude-oil line’s capacity to 500,000 barrels a day.

The expansion would be the second phase of a replacement project of the line, which runs from Griffith, Indiana, to Sarnia, Ontario. The first phase, which involves replacing 75 miles of pipeline segment for integrity reasons, is scheduled for completion later this year, said Lorraine Little, a Superior, Wisconsin-based spokeswoman for Enbridge.

Line 6B, which has a current capacity of 240,000 barrels a day, according to Little, was shut for two months after spilling 19,500 barrels of oil July 26, 2010, near Marshall, Michigan.

Enbridge filed an application April 16 with the Michigan Public Service Commission asking permission to replace 160 miles of 30-inch pipeline. The new pipeline would include 110 miles of 36-inch pipe and 50 miles of 30-inch pipe, according to the filing. Another 50 miles of pipeline would be replaced in Indiana.

“Recent, ongoing and anticipated refinery upgrades and expansions in Michigan, Ohio and eastern Canada are driving the demand for additional pipeline transportation capacity,” Little said in an e-mailed statement.

Line 6B delivers oil to refineries in Detroit, Toledo, Ohio, and Sarnia, Ontario.

“These refinery customers are reconfiguring in order to accept delivery of and process increased volumes of heavy crude oil from western Canada as well as light crude oil supplies from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota and Montana,” Little said.

Enbridge requested approval by Nov. 1 so it can start work by Nov. 15 and put the expanded pipeline into service in September 2013.

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