Enbridge Line 6A pipeline spilled 6,050 barrels of oil, restart date unsure

By Phaedra Friend Troy 

Enbridge Energy Partners (NYSE:EEP) estimates that 6,050 barrels of oil escaped the Line 6A pipeline in Romeoville, Illinois, when the pipeline sprung a leak on Sept. 9.

The second section of the massive Lakehead crude oil pipeline system to be shut-in in as many months for an oil spill, prices of crude oil jumped on the NYMEX due to supply constraints caused by the pipeline accident.

Line 6A is a 34-inch-diameter, 670,000-barrel-per-day pipeline that transports light synthetics and crude oil from Superior, Wisconsin, to Griffith, Indiana. When the leak occurred, the Line 6A was transporting approximately 459,000 barrels per day of heavy crude oil.

The majority of the spilled oil, Enbridge reports, has been vacuumed; and there are 300 crewmembers on site to help with the safe clean-up operations.

The cause of the pipeline leak has not yet been determined, but the Environmental Protection Agency is on scene, along with state and local regulators and agencies, to oversee operations and help with the investigation.

Enbridge does not currently have an estimate for the restart for the pipeline, but company schedulers are working with crude shippers to divert oil to other pipelines with available capacity and additional storage facilities.

While the company immediately shut-in the well after learning of the leak, it took Enbridge Energy three days to "cap" the oil leak on the Line 6B, which was discovered by Romeoville water officials when investigating a report of faulty water in a drinking line, according to local media.

Additionally, the local Fox News affiliate reported that the line is located about 5 feet under the ground, and that the hole on the line is about an inch to an inch and a half long.

Enbridge began excavating the damaged pipeline section on Sept. 10.

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