Company News

Enbridge seeks partial natgas pipe return Aug. 24-26 after Kentucky blast

Aug 16 (Reuters) - Canadian energy company Enbridge Inc said it expects to return one pipe to service between Aug. 24 and 26 on its Texas Eastern natural gas system in Kentucky that shut after an explosion on an adjacent line killed one person on Aug. 1.

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

Enbridge said it plans to replace portions of Lines 10 and 25 in the vicinity of the incident and assess the entire length of Line 15 from Uniontown, Pennsylvania to Kosciusko, Mississippi.

The company said it anticipates returning Line 25 to service between Aug. 24 and 26, which would allow about 0.8 bcfd of gas to flow through the area.

One billion cubic feet is enough to supply about five million U.S. homes for a day.

Enbridge said it expected to complete work on Line 10 by late August or the first week of September.

Enbridge warned the schedules were subject to change based on weather conditions and other unforeseen occurrences.

Before the company restarts any lines, it must first receive permission to do so from the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

PHMSA issued a corrective action order on Aug. 8 that requires the company to complete several tasks before the regulator will allow any flows through the blast site.

In addition to killing one person, the Kentucky explosion injured at least six other people, destroyed multiple structures and caused a fire that damaged about 30 acres, PHMSA said.

PHMSA also said the blast released about 66 million cubic feet of gas, ejected a 30-foot (9.1 meter) section of Line 15 about 460 feet from the failure site and resulted in a 50-foot long, 13-foot deep crater.

The agency noted this was not the first blast for this pipe in the area. Line 15, which was constructed beginning in 1942, also failed in November 2003 near Morehead, Kentucky, about 100 miles northeast of Danville.

The Aug. 1 blast was also the second so far this year on the Texas Eastern system following an explosion in Ohio in January that injured at least two people.

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

Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Tom Brown