Company News

Canada's Enbridge to keep gas pipe shut for at least a week after Kentucky blast

Aug 6 (Reuters) - Canadian energy company Enbridge Inc said it plans to keep the section of its Texas Eastern pipe in Kentucky shut through at least Aug. 12 after it exploded on Thursday, killing one person.

Enbridge said in a notice to customers Monday afternoon that it is working with federal and state officials investigating the incident. The company has not estimated when the damaged section of pipe will return to service.

The blast near Danville, Kentucky was the second so far this year on the Texas Eastern system following an explosion in Ohio in January that injured at least two people.

It was also the third big blast for Enbridge in less than a year following an explosion in British Columbia on its Westcoast system in October.

Enbridge said the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board assumed control of the incident site in Kentucky and the company was supporting that investigation.

Enbridge said Texas Eastern has three lines between its Danville and Tompkinsville compressors in Kentucky that make up its 30-inch (76-centimeter) pipeline system. The lines are Line 10, 15 and 25. The blast occurred on Line 15.

At the time of the blast, about 1.7 billion cubic feet of gas (bcfd) was flowing south from the Marcellus and Utica shale in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia through the damaged section of pipe toward the Gulf Coast, according to data from analytics firm Refinitiv.

That represents about 2% of the 90 bcfd of gas produced in the Lower 48 U.S. states. One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to supply about five million U.S. homes for a day.

The gas was flowing south on Texas Eastern from producers in the Marcellus and Utica to utilities along the pipe route and industrial and liquefied natural gas export terminals along the Gulf Coast.

Enbridge said it restricted north-to-south gas flows through the Danville compressor to zero. That has caused flows north from the Gulf Coast into Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky to increase over the past few days, according to Refinitiv data.

In the Appalachia region, producers briefly reduced the amount of gas they were pulling out of the ground after the blast to 31.8 bcfd on Thursday, but have since boosted production to a record-high 32.7 bcfd, according to Refinitiv data.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Susan Thomas