Enbridge Picks Contractors for Great Lakes Tunnel Project, Securing Line 5 Pipeline Route

(Reuters) — Canadian energy company Enbridge has retained a joint venture partnership between Barnard Construction Company Inc. and Civil and Building North America Inc. (CBNA) to construct the Great Lakes Tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The primary purpose of the Great Lakes Tunnel is to provide a secure pathway for Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline. Line 5 is a major pipeline that transports crude oil and natural gas liquids from Superior, Wisconsin, through Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas, before reaching its final destination in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. The pipeline plays a significant role in supplying energy resources to the region.

Enbridge's decision to construct a tunnel for Line 5 is driven by concerns over the pipeline's current underwater crossing in the Straits of Mackinac. The existing pipeline is laid on the lakebed, which has raised environmental and safety concerns regarding potential leaks or damage from ship anchors or other maritime activities.

Barnard, based in Bozeman, Montana, and CBNA, based in Miami, Florida, will collaborate with Enbridge to construct the tunnel for the State of Michigan, the statement said.

The contract was granted after Enbridge initiated a request for proposal (RFP) process in early 2022. The construction and operation of the Great Lakes Tunnel will be overseen by Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA).

Enbridge will finance the project entirely, and upon its completion, ownership and operation will transfer to the MSCA. The company is preparing to begin construction following the receipt of environmental permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Barnard and CBNA will each retain a 50% partnership under the name Mackinac Straits Partners, according to the statement.

Earlier in the month, Enbridge's Texas Eastern Transmission subsidiary received approval from U.S. energy regulators to commence service of a natural gas pipeline associated with its Venice extension project in Louisiana.

Last month, The Canada Energy Regulator approved a toll settlement between Enbridge and shippers for moving oil along the Canadian mainline.

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