CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) President Al Monaco said on Friday that his company still has no timetable for when regulators will allow it to restart Line 14, which has been shut since spilling 1,200 barrels of oil into a Wisconsin field a week ago.
Monaco said Enbridge, whose lines carry the bulk of Canada’s oil exports to the United States, submitted a safety plan for its U.S. system to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)on Thursday after the regulator asked Enbridge to undertake stricter than usual safety measures.
PHMSA asked that Enbridge address potential flaws in its 1,900 mile (3,050 kilometer) Lakehead pipeline system following a series of spills - including a 2010 rupture that spilled more than 20,000 barrels of crude into a Michigan river system - before it allows Line 14 to restart. It must also hire a third party to oversee safety changes.
Monaco said the order was not unexpected and came after the company had met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who had already called the spill “absolutely unacceptable”.
“I wasn’t surprised because we had met with (U.S. Transportation) Secretary LaHood and his staff and they expressed their concerns,” Monaco said.
Enbridge was able to deliver a safety plan for the Lakehead system on Thursday, just a day after it received the order, and Monaco said his company has already had meetings with PHMSA on the plan.
“We’ve have been working on every one of those points for the last two years,” he said. “There was nothing terribly new in there. The thing that was new is they wanted us to retain a third party to work with us in terms of evaluating the system going forward. I think that’s a good idea. We welcome that.”
Monaco, who is slated to take over as Enbridge’s chief executive when Pat Daniel retires later this year, said the company has a good relationship with PHMSA and will work with the regulator until it is satisfied Line 14, which was repaired on Wednesday, can be safely restarted.
“We don’t have a specific timeline to restart, that really is up to the regulator to determine,” he said. “But we’re available to restart.”
Enbridge has so far rerouted oil that would have been shipped on the 318,000 barrel per day Line 14 through other lines running into the Chicago market.
“We had a big 42-inch line (Line 61) that had space in it,” Monaco said. “That’s been helpful to us and to customers.”
Enbridge shares fell 4 Canadian cents to C$39.86 on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Peter Galloway