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Enbridge works to return Texas Eastern natgas pipe after Kentucky blast

Canadian energy company Enbridge Inc said it is working on a plan to put in service a couple of pipelines adjacent to the Texas Eastern natural gas pipeline in Kentucky that exploded on Aug. 1, killing one person.

The company, which made the announcement on Thursday, did not say when the two pipes would return to service. Earlier in the week, the company told customers it expected they would remain shut at least through Aug. 12.

Enbridge said it is working with several agencies looking into the blast, including the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the investigation.

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

Traders noted the Kentucky incident had only a temporary impact on production in the Appalachia region, which returned to record levels earlier this week.

At the time of the blast, about 1.7 billion cubic feet of gas (bcfd) was flowing south from the Marcellus and Utica shale basins in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia through the damaged section of pipe toward the Gulf Coast, according to data from analytics firm Refinitiv.

That represents about 2% of the 90 bcfd of all the 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.

After the blast, producers in Appalachia briefly reduced output to 31.8 bcfd on Aug. 1 from a record high of 32.6 bcfd earlier in the week, according to Refinitiv data.

Appalachia drillers have since boosted production to a new high of 32.7 bcfd on Aug. 5.

Enbridge said it restricted north-to-south flows through the Danville compressor to zero. To supply customers in the Southeast, gas is now flowing north on Texas Eastern from the Gulf Coast to Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky, according to Refinitiv data.

Texas Eastern runs 8,835 miles (14,219 kilometers) from the Gulf Coast to the U.S. Northeast.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Paul Simao


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