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Enbridge Texas Eastern gas pipe remains shut after Kentucky blast

Canadian energy company Enbridge Inc said the section of its Texas Eastern pipe that killed one person when it exploded on Thursday remained shut while the company works with federal and state officials to investigate the incident.

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 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 Refinitiv data.

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 on Texas Eastern from producers in the Marcellus and Utica shale 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. At this time, the company has not estimated when the damaged section of pipe will return to service.

Producers in the Appalachia region reduced output to 31.8 bcfd on Thursday from 32.2 bcfd on Wednesday, according to Refinitiv data.

As usually happens when flows stop between regions, gas prices declined where the gas was coming from because it is trapped and needs to find a new home or be shut-in and increased where it was going to as customers scramble to find other sources of supply.

Spot gas prices for Friday at the Dominion South NG-PCN-APP-SNL hub in Pennsylvania fell 5% to a four-week low of $1.83 per mmBtu, while prices at the Henry Hub NG-W-HH-SNL benchmark in Louisiana rose 4% to a two-week high of $2.36. (Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Susan Thomas)


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