On April 30, 1949, Interprovincial Pipe Line Company was officially incorporated – receiving its charter from the Canadian federal government. Originally envisioned as a pipeline to carry Alberta crude to refineries in Regina, the scope of the system expanded across the Canadian prairies and into the United States Midwest even before the first shovel touched the ground. Construction of the original pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin began in the winter of 1949-50 and wrapped up by late 1950 at a cost of $73-million.
On Oct. 4, 1950, Alberta Premier Ernest Manning and Canadian federal minister C.D. Howe opened the valve on IPL’s inaugural line to start moving oil eastward; the first oil arrived in Superior two months later, on Dec. 5, where it was stored in the Superior terminal tanks. Enbridge’s work was pivotal in spurring the growth of Western Canadian oil production. In their first full year of pipeline operations, they shipped 30.6 million barrels of oil.
Today, they transport an average of 2.2 million barrels of oil every day. Through the years, they’ve continued to open new markets for Canadian crude, and played a critical role in developing North American energy infrastructure.