(In U.S. dollars unless noted)
By Jeffrey Jones
CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc
could remove a damaged section of pipeline for inspection on
Friday, 12 days after it ruptured and spewed oil into a
Michigan river system, but there is still no schedule for
restarting the line, the company said.
Enbridge, which ships most of Canada's crude oil exports to
the United States, aims to soon give U.S. authorities the
notice they require to excavate the pipeline.
That means the part of Line 6B that split open near
Marshall, Michigan, could be cut out late Friday, said Steve
Wuori, president of Enbridge's liquids pipelines division.
"It could be as early as late tomorrow, but ... I will say
that really is dependent on the length of time the
investigating agencies want to spend with the pipe in the
ditch," Wuori told a news conference in Marshall Thursday.
The pipeline normally carries as much as 190,000 barrels of
oil a day to refineries in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and
southern Ontario, which process a total of more than 700,000
barrels a day.
Two U.S. plants have cut fuel output and others have had to
scramble to secure alternative supplies from other pipelines
that supply the regions.
United Refining Co said it reduced rates 35 percent at its
Warren, Pennsylvania, refinery.
The outage has also pressured prices for Canadian heavy
crude on the cash market, trading sources have said.
The July 26 rupture spilled an estimated 19,500 barrels of
heavy Cold Lake Blend crude into the Kalamazoo River system,
forcing a cleanup effort involving more than 800 workers and
105,000 feet (32,000 metres) of containment and absorbent
U.S. officials and the company reported progress on the
cleanup, saying more than 60,000 barrels, or 2.5 million
gallons (9.5 million litres), of oil and water mix had been
removed from the river system.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and
Environmental Protection Agency are investigating the incident,
one of the largest pipeline leaks in recent U.S. history and
one that arguably gained increased profile against the backdrop
of the much bigger BP Plc disaster in the Gulf of
Calgary-based Enbridge has promised that none of the area's
residents will face long-term financial hardship because of the
spill. It has even offered to buy as many as 200 houses located
in the spill zone.
Enbridge Chief Executive Pat Daniel said three homeowners
have expressed interest in taking up the company's offer.
Once the piece of pipeline is removed from the ditch, it
will be inspected by the NTSB, EPA and state authorities, then
shipped to Washington for analysis, Wuori said.
"In terms of the start-up, we are working with the Office
of Pipeline Safety on the restart plan and the conditions that
surround that, and we will need to let that plan evolve before
we can identify exactly when that will happen," he said.
Enbridge shares rose 36 Canadian cents to C$51.76 on the
Toronto Stock Exchange. Its U.S. affiliate, Enbridge Energy
Partners, gained 85 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $56.91 in
(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Rob Wilson)