N.D. oil pipeline leak repaired; resumes operation
By: By Kevin Bonham, Grand Forks Herald, Superior Telegram
The crude oil pipeline that sprang a leak late last week in Pembina County is operating again.
Enbridge Energy Partners said the 26-inch pipeline was restarted about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The pipeline was shut down late Friday night after an Enbridge control center detected a drop in pressure and company officials confirmed that light crude oil was leaking.
The company said about 3,000 barrels -- or about 126,000 gallons -- of oil spilled just south of the U.S.-Canadian border, just northeast of Neche, N.D.
Enbridge officials said the pipeline immediately was shut down and isolated by closing valves upstream and downstream of the suspected leak site.
The crude oil spilled in the incident is contained in Enbridge's easement, with the affected area measuring about 700 feet by 40 feet, said Lorraine Grymala, Enbridge public affairs.
Contaminated snow and soil is being transported to licensed landfills for disposal.
The damaged section of pipe has been sent to a metallurgical laboratory to help Enbridge and regulatory authorities investigate the cause of the rupture.
The pipeline was built and put into service in the mid-1970s. It runs from Cromer, Man., to Superior, Wis.
The line now is being operated at 80 percent of its normal operating pressure between Gretna, Man., and Superior while the company and regulators continue their investigation.
Enbridge is building a new pipeline -- called the Alberta Clipper -- between Alberta and Superior, Wis. The new pipeline, which parallels the line that leaked and is located in the same right-of-way, is expected to be placed into service later this year. Initially, it will carry about 450,000 gallons a day, with a maximum capacity of about 800,000 gallons daily.
-- Copyright (c) 2010, Grand Forks Herald, N.D./Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services