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

Just Posted

Stettler County
County of Stettler approves projects during May 12th council meeting

County council has authorized some funds for projects this summer

Stettler County
County of Stettler holds public hearings for proposed bylaws

A bylaw to amend the Land Use Bylaw for recreational vehicle uses generated many responses from the public

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is asking Albertans to do their part by observing gathering limits, staying home if unwell, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three new Central zone COVID-19 deaths, Alberta adds 1,433 cases

Red Deer down to 802 active cases of COVID-19

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, watchdog says

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

The historic Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne in southern Alberta is up for sale

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
Alberta RCMP investigating possible threat to police after Mirror rally

Online images show RCMP members, vehicles in crosshairs of a rifle

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Liberals are proposing a one per cent tax on vacant homes owned by foreign non-residents

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier’s shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Canadian Forces says it has charged one of its members in the death of an army reservist from British Columbia during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Canadian Forces member charged in death of army reservist during training exercise

Cpl. Lars Callsen has been charged with one count of negligence

Most Read