Enbridge oil pipeline seen down until Friday

Thu Dec 9, 2010 5:51pm EST
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc said on Thursday it has shut down a major oil pipeline in the U.S. Midwest for extended maintenance, adding to a squeeze in transport capacity that has created a glut of crude in Western Canada.

Enbridge said its 670,000 barrel a day Line 6A would be down until Friday at 11 p.m. (0400 GMT Saturday) while it completes work related to a scheduled pipeline integrity test.

"Maintenance crews already on site will remain and are working around the clock to minimize the duration of the shutdown," Enbridge spokeswoman Gina Jordan said in an email.

The pipeline runs to Griffith, Indiana, from Superior, Wisconsin.

The company said it is considering deferring other maintenance to recover some of the volumes that have been lost due to shutdowns and cuts in flow rates on its system, which is the main artery for Canadian crude exports to the United States.

Due to pressure restrictions on Enbridge's pipelines and high nominations, crude was already being backed up in Western Canada, forcing the company to disrupt service on some feeder pipelines and some producers to cut output.

Jordan said Enbridge storage tanks in Edmonton and Hardisty in Alberta and Superior in Wisconsin are full.