CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canada's energy regulator imposed new conditions on Enbridge Inc's (ENB.TO) Sarnia, Ontario, to Montreal oil pipeline on Thursday, including additional testing, before it allows the 300,000 barrel per day Line 9 to enter service.
The National Energy Board said Enbridge must carry out hydrostatic tests at three locations on the pipeline. It is also requiring the company to carry out bi-weekly ground patrols and quarterly integrity tests during the line's first two years of operation.
The board said in a release that the public controversy that has erupted over Enbridge's reversal of the line so that it can carry crude from Alberta's tar sands to refineries in Montreal and Levis, Quebec, through Canada's most heavily populated region, means the project requires more scrutiny before being allowed to open.
"With each project we regulate, and at each step of the process, public safety and the protection of the environment are our greatest priorities," Peter Watson, the board's chief executive, said in the statement. "The public dialogue surrounding this project reiterates the necessity for the NEB to deliver on those priorities."
Enbridge said it will meet the new conditions, but it said it does not yet know how long it will take to comply or when the already delayed startup of the pipeline can take place.
"We are confident that Line 9 can be operated safely and we will fulfill the regulator’s conditions," the company said in a statement.
Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama; and Peter Galloway