Enbridge Line 4 Oil Pipeline

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This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor and the Center for Media and Democracy.

Enbridge Line 4 Oil Pipeline is a major oil pipeline in the Enbridge Pipeline System that conveys petroleum from western Canada to its Superior Terminal in Wisconsin, United States.


The pipeline originates in Edmonton, Alberta, and terminates in Superior, Wisconsin.

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Project Details

  • Operator: Enbridge[1]
  • Current capacity: 880,000 barrels per day
  • Length: 1767 km (1098 mi)[1]
  • Status: Operating
  • Start Year: 2002


Line 4 transport heavy crude oil, as well as light and medium oil past Clearbrook, Minnesota.[2]

In June 2007, Enbridge applied to the National Energy Board (NEB) for approval of the proposed Line 4 Extension Project to extend the line upstream from Hardisty to Edmonton.[3] Enbridge provided the equity financing for the project at an estimated cost of CAN$309 million.[3] NEB granted approval for the project in April 2008.[3]


In July 2002, Enbridge released an estimated 6,000 barrels of oil when Line 4 ruptured near Cohasset, Minnesota.[4] A "13-inch-long transportation-induced metal fatigue" was identified as the source of the pipeline failure.[4]

In December 2014, Enbridge released an estimated 1,350 barrels of oil from Line 4 at its pumping station at the Regina terminal.[5] A failed valve flange was detected as the source of the leak. The spill reportedly lasted 2 minutes and 26 seconds.[6] Enbridge stated that there were no impacts to the public, wildlife or waterways.[5]


On February 4 of 2019, four climate activists in Blackberry Township, Minnesota closed safety valves on a crude oil pipeline belonging to the Canadian energy corporation Enbridge. This is an escalation of ongoing activism aimed at Enbridge, which is facing stiff resistance to their plan to build a new high capacity crude oil pipeline, Line 3, through Minnesota and across multiple Native American reservations. This marks the second time in just over two years that activists have shut down Enbridge pipelines, citing the urgency of climate change. The four activists broke into a fenced area containing emergency safety valves for Enbridge lines 1, 3 & 4. The activists, who are affiliated with the Catholic Worker movement, are Michele Naar Obed of Duluth, MN, Allyson Polman, Brenna Cussen Anglada, and Daniel Yildirim. The four were taken into custody by Itasca County Sheriffs at around 1:30pm. The three pipelines cross three Native American reservations and hundreds of miles of un-ceded treaty territory. In October of 2018 two activists were acquitted in Clearwater County court for a similar pipeline shut down. Those activists, Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein, shut down Enbridge Lines 4 & 67 in a multi-state coordinated action in 2016 that closed down all the tar sands flowing from Canada into the United States. In their criminal trial, the activists set precedence in Minnesota court allowing climate activists to argue that their actions are justifiable due to the necessity of taking action on climate change.[7]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Pipeline System Configuration, Enbridge, Q1 2016
  2. Canada’s Pipeline Transportation System 2016, Canada National Energy Board, modified 2 Jun. 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 In the Matter of Enbridge Pipelines Inc. Line 4 Extension Project, Canada National Energy Board, April 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pipeline Accident Report, National Transportation Safety Board
  5. 5.0 5.1 1,350 barrels of oil spill at Enbridge pumping station in Regina, CTV Regina, 18 Dec. 2014
  6. Enbridge Line 4 spills in Regina, The Council of Canadians, 18 Dec. 2014
  7. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Climate Activists Shut Down Enbridge Pipelines in Northern Minnesota Climate Disobedience Center, accessed January 2019

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