Enbridge Line Fixed, Flow on Hold

Monday, August 6, 2012 @ 06:08 PM gHale

Enbridge Inc. completed repairs on a ruptured pipeline from Canada shut for five days following an oil leak in rural Wisconsin.

The leak was not big, but the company has had a series of problems as it suffered a series of leaks in recent years and is now in the process of embarking on a massive expansion program. As result, federal officials put a hold on restarting the pipeline.

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Enbridge said earlier in the day it submitted a plan to U.S. regulators seeking permission to restart the pipeline, though it was unclear how long it would take to get approval.

“Enbridge will continue to coordinate its efforts with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA),” the company said in a statement.

The PHMSA issued a corrective action order that blocked Enbridge from resuming operations on the pipeline, which carries light crude to Chicago-area refineries, until the company met certain conditions.

Corrective orders can delay resumption of pipeline operations, sometimes for weeks or months. When an Enbridge pipeline spilled crude into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in 2010, the line did not win approval for restart until six weeks later.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood last week ripped Enbridge over the estimated 1,200-barrel leak in Wisconsin, saying it was “absolutely unacceptable” and he would meet with the company’s leadership to seek an explanation of why the company should be allowed to continue operating the line.

Line 14 is a 24-inch diameter pipe installed in 1998, making it a relatively new line.

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