September 17, 2010 / 2:11 PM / 7 years ago

Enbridge reopens key Canada-U.S. crude pipeline

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc said it reopened its key oil pipeline that carries nearly one-third of Canadian crude shipped to the United States on Friday after a leak shut it for more than a week.

Enbridge Senior Vice President Art Meyer said the 670,000 barrels per day Line 6A ramped up to flow rates scheduled for the day within three hours after restart at 10:50 a.m. EDT, but he did not disclose the flow rate nor operating pressure.

“There are no pressure restrictions associated with the incident at the site, and there are no restrictions that I‘m aware of with regard to the start-up,” Meyer told a news briefing.

The 34-inch (0.9-meter) diameter pipeline was carrying 459,000 bpd at the time a leak was discovered at Romeoville, Illinois, near Chicago, on September 9, forcing shutdown.

The line normally carries light synthetic oil, as well as heavy and medium crude from Superior Wisconsin to Griffith, Indiana.

The anticipated restart of the pipeline weighed on oil prices most of the week, and October crude oil futures settled 91 cents lower at $73.66 a barrel on Friday.

Enbridge shares were down 10 cents at C$51.79 on the Toronto exchange late in Friday’s session.

An estimated 6,100 barrels of oil spilled due to a puncture, possibly from a rock, and did not appear to be a pipeline integrity issue, a National Transportation Safety Board official said.

A 12-foot (3.7-meter) long segment was replaced early this week in preparation for restart.

Line 6A feeds crude to refineries that can produce more than 1 million barrels a day of fuels and other products.

Another Enbridge pipeline, the 190,000 bpd Line 6B, remained shut after a leak found in Michigan July 26. That leak was much larger and requires more complex steps for restart because the U.S. Department of Transportation had issued a corrective action order for Line 6B, officials said.

Editing by Marguerita Choy

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