Likely Market Responses to a Line 5 Shutdown
First constructed 70 years ago, Line 5 is part of Enbridge’s Lakehead System, a network of pipelines in the Great Lakes region. It is fed by Enbridge pipelines originating in Western Canada. Line 5 transports crude oil and natural gas liquids east from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario. It conveys between 400,000 and 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, in addition to about 80,000 bpd of NGLs.
For the past several years, Line 5 has been the subject of litigation and policy efforts seeking to terminate its operation by various plaintiffs and at various locations along the route. These disputes and concerns around Line 5 have been ongoing for about ten years and are widely known within the energy industry and among various service providers and market observers. However, a material development in the Line 5 saga occurred this past summer when a Federal court ruling issued for the first time a date-certain requirement of June 2026 for the removal of Line 5 from a 13-mile portion of the route in northern Wisconsin. A shutdown could occur sooner due to an appeal of that decision.
In this executive summary report, PLG Consulting examines the suite of potential market adjustments that could be made in the event of a planned and orderly shutdown of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline. PLG takes no position on the merits of a shutdown, and the purpose of the report is not to prescribe any particular set of market reactions – those will be for the market to determine. Rather, it is PLG’s conclusion that for both the crude oil and NGLs currently transported by Line 5, there exists a range of replacement options that are both commercially viable and operationally feasible.
This comprehensive summary includes:
- About Line 5
- Line 5 Saga Explained
- Key Findings – Alternate Line 5 Supply
- Alternative Solutions for Potential Line 5 Shutdown – Crude Oil and NGLs
Download the executive summary.
Download the full white paper report.