Enbridge again shuts major crude pipeline for fix

Fri Oct 8, 2010 5:03pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Joshua Schneyer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Calgary-based Enbridge Inc said on Friday it has shut its 670,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Line 6A, a main artery for Canadian oil exports to the United States, after finding an unspecified problem with the line in Wisconsin during maintenance.

No oil leak was found on 6A, which runs from Northern Wisconsin to Griffith, Indiana, but during maintenance a crew found a "feature on the pipeline that we thought it would be prudent to fix," said company spokesman Larry Springer.

Springer didn't offer more detail, but said the line was shut pending a "typical repair," possibly requiring a sleeve to be placed over the suspected weak-point on the line.

He offered no time or date for restarting the line, which is a main conduit of Canadian crude into the U.S. Midwest.

A repair could probably be completed in less than two days, assuming Enbridge has the right equipment on hand, said analyst Tim Evans of Citi Futures in New York.

"It doesn't sound like anything where they would need a lot of interaction with regulators to get a restart. We're a long way from a shortage of crude oil in the Midwest."

The outage follows a series of mishaps on Enbridge pipelines this year. Line 6A had earlier been shut down between September 9-17 after it leaked more than 6,000 barrels of oil in Illinois. That leak helped to set off a rally of nearly $4 a barrel in U.S. crude prices in subsequent days, on concern that crude supplies to Midwest refineries would drop sharply.

The line forms part of the Enbridge Lakehead pipeline system, a 59 year-old, 1,900 mile (3,060-km) network that delivers mostly Canadian crude throughout the Midwest, and ships some oil back up into Ontario, Canada.   Continued...