Enbridge says no restart date for ruptured line

Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:38pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Bernie Woodall and Scott Haggett

DETROIT/CALGARY (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc's chief executive said on Friday he was unable to say when the company would be able to restart the Michigan pipeline that ruptured earlier this week, spilling more than 800,000 gallons of oil.

There was "no forward push of the oil" toward Lake Michigan by Friday, Ralph Dollhopf, the on-scene coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, told reporters.

While Enbridge Chief Executive Pat Daniel said that making the pipe ready to resume operation can take only a matter of days, but he said a restart of the pipeline is in the hands of U.S. regulators.

The Department of Transportation ordered Enbridge on Wednesday to complete a number of precautionary steps before restarting the 286-mile pipeline carrying as much as 190,000 barrels per day of oil from northern Indiana to Sarnia, Ontario.

"The ultimate decision is with the third-party regulator and not with Enbridge," Daniel said on a conference call.

Enbridge has exposed the ruptured pipeline, which will then be examined by regulators. The damaged pipe will then be cut out and replaced with a pretested section of pipe. After a DOT inspection and approval, the line can then be returned to service, at reduced pressure.

The spill noticed on Monday by Enbridge follows the devastating BP Plc spill in the Gulf of Mexico and has been watched with concern in part because of its threat to Lake Michigan, part of the largest supply of fresh water on the planet.

Enbridge has increased the number of booms checking the flow of the oil down the Kalamazoo River, with 26 in place and as many as 10 more added over the weekend.   Continued...

<p>Booms are seen floating on the Kalamazoo river, after an oil pipeline, owned by Enbridge Energy Partners, leaked an estimated 820,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo river in Western Michigan near Marshall July 30, 2010. REUTES/Rebecca Cook</p>