Enbridge to restart Line 14 on Tuesday

Mon Aug 6, 2012 4:51pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc plans to restart on Tuesday a pipeline that leaked more than 1,000 barrels of crude onto a Wisconsin field after receiving the greenlight from U.S. regulators.

U.S. pipeline regulators last week issued Enbridge a corrective action order, calling for measures to be taken before it would allow the resumption of flows along Line 14, which was halted after a leak was discovered on July 27.

The Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said on Monday that a series of provisions for Enbridge had been met in order to restart the 318,000 barrel-per-day pipeline, which carries Canadian crude to refineries in the Chicago-area.

"Communities across the country deserve to know that the pipelines running underneath their homes, streets and businesses are safe," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "That is why we are requiring Enbridge to commit to such a thorough safety plan."

Some of the conditions of the restart include additional aerial and foot patrols of key areas of the pipeline and a temporary reduction in operating pressure, the Transportation Department's pipeline regulator said.

"The amended return to service plan requested by PHMSA on August 1, 2012 was accepted and approved today," Enbridge said in a statement on Monday.

PHMSA said the line's pressure would be limited to 80 percent of the pressure in place at the time of the spill, until the cause of the leak was determined and appropriate remedial actions were taken.

The shutdown caused a brief spike in regional gasoline prices that eventually drove up prices on the Gulf Coast and U.S. Northeast as supplies were diverted to meet the shortfall.

LaHood said he would be holding weekly meetings with his agency to make sure Enbridge was complying with the requirements of the restart.   Continued...

The Enbridge Tower is pictured on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton August 4, 2012. REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber