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Enbridge oil pipeline
An Enbridge crew lowers pipe into a trench in LaSalle County, south of the Fox River, on Oct. 30, 2008.” href=”http://www.journalstandard.com/archive/x1751717798/g2582580d3be623da0cb8d0001e4f64e2db838a791984bc.jpg” jQuery1226902167781=”2″>An Enbridge crew lowers pipe into a trench in LaSalle County, south of the Fox River, on Oct. 30, 2008.”>
By Photo courtesy of Enbridge
An Enbridge crew lowers pipe into a trench in LaSalle County, south of the Fox River, on Oct. 30, 2008.
By Jeff Montgomery The Journal-Standard
Sun Nov 16, 2008, 08:19 PM CST
An aggressive pipeline expansion project conducted by Enbridge Inc. is making its way through four counties in the northern half of Illinois, and will ultimately affect areas as far south as the companys Flanagan terminal in Marion County.
The ongoing construction is part of the companys $2.1 billion Southern Access Expansion project, which calls for 424 miles of new pipeline stretching from Superior, Wis., to Pontiac, Ill.
According to the corporations Web site, the project seeks to meet the current and future rise in refinery demand by effectively utilizing an increase in oil supplies coming from western Canada, North Dakota and Montana.
The goal is to increase the capacity of the entire Enbridge system by 400,000 barrels per day, said Dave Henderson, a community relations consultant for Enbridge.
Enbridge is a North American energy transportation and delivery company that operates in Canada and the United States. The corporation operates the longest crude oil and petroleum pipeline system in the world.
Illinoisans are currently witnessing the effects of the Southern Access Expansion program, which will result in new pipeline in Boone, DeKalb, and LaSalle counties, as well as the northern part of Livingston County.
Following the completion of the Southern Access Expansion project, Enbridge will launch a closely related effort referred to as the Southern Access Extension project.
This project, slated to begin construction in 2010, will extend the pipeline from Enbridges Flanagan terminal to a key transportation hub in Pakota, Ill.
There are two distinct stages within the Southern Access Expansion Program. Stage 1 of the project, which consists of 321 miles of new pipeline in Wisconsin, was completed April 1, 2008, and the pipeline is currently in operation. Enbridge is now making progress on the projects second stage.
According to Henderson, Enbridge is employing a strategy often used by oil companies in which a construction project is separated into numerous sub-projects, commonly referred to as spreads.
Stage 2 of the Southern Access Expansion project is separated into three distinct spreads. The divide-and-conquer strategy ultimately makes the process more efficient.
There are different construction companies going through the same construction process on each spread, said Henderson. Eventually, we weld the pipeline together.
The second spread in Stage 2, which spans DeKalb County, is complete and Enbridge is now involved in land restoration, a process in which land surrounding the pipeline is returned to its condition prior to any disturbance.
Spread one, which crosses the Wisconsin-Illinois border and extends into Boone County, is nearing completion. And spread three, located south of DeKalb County, will likely be finished in January 2009.
The Southern Access Extension, meanwhile, is taking slightly longer than expected.
In terms of timing we are looking at construction in 2010, said Joe Martucci, an Enbridge community relations representative in central Illinois. We have had a few delays in the project. The process is taking longer than we anticipated.
Local Landowners Affected
Enbridges plan to expand its pipeline system has had a direct impact on landowners, many of whom are farmers in northern Illinois. According to Henderson, negotiating easement agreements with landowners is a crucial and time-consuming part of the process.
It takes years to complete a project, Henderson said. But it only takes months to complete the actual pipeline.
While a handful of farmers have voiced their discontent with Enbridges pipeline expansion, the process has been relatively fluid, according to Mariam Wassmann, director of information for the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. Ive been told by Enbridge that most of the farmers have been cooperative, said Wassmann.