By EDWARD WELSCH
CALGARY, Alberta -- Enbridge on Friday said it will spend up
to 500 million Canadian dollars ($494.2 million) more on safety
features for its proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline to
Canada's western coast.
The Calgary-based energy-infrastructure company's plan to
build an oil pipeline from Alberta to a port in Kitimat,
British Columbia, for export overseas faces opposition in
Canada's westernmost province, including from native groups and
They say they are concerned about the possibility of oil spills
from the pipeline reaching rivers and lakes, or contamination
of B.C.'s coast from tanker spills.
Enbridge said it will spend an extra C$400 million to C$500
million to improve Northern Gateway, which was estimated
to cost C$5.5 billion to build.
"With these enhanced measures, we will make what is already
a very safe project even safer in order to
provide further comfort to people who are concerned about the
safety of sensitive habitats in remote areas," said Janet
Holder, executive vice president of Enbridge's Western Access
Opposition within Canada to the pipeline was revitalized
last week by events in the US. The US National Transportation
Safety Board said repeated mistakes made by Enbridge caused and
worsened a 2010 oil spill from the Mainline pipeline in
The spill contaminated the Kalamazoo River, and the NTSB
said at $800 million, it was the costliest onshore spill
cleanup in US history.
Following the NTSB's report last week, B.C. Premier Christy
Clark told reporters Enbridge should be "deeply embarrassed"
and that it could "forget it" if it planned to operate the
Northern Gateway pipeline in the same way.
The decision to approve the pipeline is made by a Canadian
federal review board, though British Columbia's government can
make its opinion on the project heard during the review
Projects like Northern Gateway have support from Canada's
ruling Conservative government, which has said opening new
pipeline routes to the western coast in order to ship oil to
Asia is a strategic priority for Canada.
Northern Gateway would ship up to 525,000 bpd and is
scheduled for a 2017 startup.
Enbridge told regulators the extra safety features would
include thicker walls for the entire 730-mile pipeline, and
extra thickness in areas where it crosses waterways.
It would also increase the number of valves to cut off the
flow of oil by 50%, increase the frequency of inspections by at
least 50%, install dual leak-detection systems, and staff
remote pump station locations continuously to improve safety
and accident response times.
Dow Jones Newswires