Enbridge Line 5 continues to dominate headlines out of Michigan. Enbridge Line 5 is key to providing NGLs to the propane fractionator in Sarnia, Canada. Enbridge is in the process of constructing The Great Lakes Tunnel project which will move a section of the already safe Line 5 pipeline currently located along the lakebed, and will make it even safer by burying it deep under the lakebed in a state-of-the-art concrete tunnel.
Earlier this week, Ingham County Circuit Court Judge, James Jamo, granted Michigan’s Attorney General, Dana Nessel’s, motion for a temporary restraining order requiring Enbridge Energy to cease all transport operations of its Line 5, twin pipelines which carry crude oil and liquid natural gas in the Straits of Mackinac, and disclose information in its possession related to the recent damage caused to the pipeline’s eastern segment. That ruling occurred as a result of reports stemming from annual inspections performed on Line 5 by Enbridge.
Late last week, inspections found a single anchor out of place on the east leg of the dual lines in the straits. However, there was no evidence of pipeline issues, but both lines were shutdown temporarily. The west leg resumed deliveries on Saturday afternoon following a similar inspection that determined the pipeline was unaffected by whatever may have caused an anchor on the east leg to become bent. PHMSA signaled concurrence with the west leg operations restart.
Because of Judge Jamo’s temporary restraining order, both lines are to remain closed until the hearing on the Attorney General’s motion for preliminary injunction is held this Tuesday, June 30.
Clearly, this is a disturbing chain of events that will impact energy supplies in Michigan, Indiana and the entire region. Enbridge is attempting to complete an NGL delivery ahead of the scheduled shut down to ensure a stable propane market.