Enbridge keeps U.S.-bound pipeline shut after leak

Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:37am EDT
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HOUSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - A key oil pipeline supplying Canadian crude to the United States, Enbridge Inc's 670,000-barrel-per-day Line 6A, remained shut on Friday after the line leaked in Illinois on Thursday.

U.S. crude and petroleum product prices rose, as the outage threatened to reduce oil supply to the industrial U.S. Midwest region.

Enbridge and U.S. government officials said crude that leaked from the Enbridge line in Romeoville, Illinois on Thursday was contained and a clean-up effort has begun.

"The cleanup is progressing well," Enbridge spokeswoman Jennifer Varey said.

Varey declined to say when Enbridge could be ready to restart the pipeline. The move would require approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

The size of the leak, discovered around noon on Thursday from the underground pipeline in a residential area, wasn't immediately known. Officials said it appeared much less severe than a 19,500 gallon leak from another Enbridge line, the 190,000 bpd Line 6B, which fouled a river system in Michigan in late July.

The 6A line is a crucial part of Enbridge's Lakehead pipeline system, which feeds Midwest oil refineries and the Cushing, Oklahoma, crude storage hub, the delivery point for U.S. crude futures.

Oil futures rose on Friday in reaction to the pipeline shutdown. U.S. crude futures for October delivery rose to three-week highs, gaining $2.20 a barrel to $76.45 at 11:05 a.m. EDT.

U.S. futures also gained against Europe's benchmark crude, Brent, which was up a more modest 92 cents at $78.35.   Continued...