Michigan State University

Enbridge denies own report noting Straits oil pipeline losing coating

Jon Harrison

Officials with Canadian oil transport corporation Enbridge on Thursday denied reports that the company's twin, underwater, 64-year-old oil and natural gas pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac are losing their protective coating.

A work plan filed by Enbridge with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last September, now available on the company's website, references areas of "holidays," the oil and gas industry term for open areas on pipelines where anticorrosion protective coating has fallen off or is missing on the underwater portions of Line 5.

The twin pipelines carry up to 23 million gallons per day of light crude oil and liquid natural gas through the Upper Peninsula, then south through the Lower Peninsula before reaching a hub in Sarnia, Ontario. The pipelines have been at the center of a years-long debate over whether they should continue to operate in the Straits, given the widespread impact a major oil spill from the lines would have on the Great Lakes and shoreline communities.

An Enbridge spokesman said discussion of lost pipe coating in the report was only hypothetical. But the report not only references the lost coating openings as existing, it lists areas of the pipes where the gaps are located and where samples will be taken.

For the full article, see Keith Matheny, "Enbridge denies own report noting Straits oil pipeline losing coating", Detroit Free Press, Feb. 16, 2017

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