Enbridge Energy Partners LP shut down and isolated its Line 6A, which can carry more than one-third of crude oil imports to the U.S. Midwest, after a leak was discovered.
Crews are investigating the situation, said Glenn Herchak, a company spokesman. He declined to provide information on what the line was carrying and if it was at full rates. The pipeline, part of Enbridge’s Lakehead system, can carry 670,000 barrels a day of oil from Canada to refineries in the U.S. Midwest, according to a company website.
Authorities were notified of a leak, apparently coming from the line, at about 12:04 p.m. local time, Steve Gulden, a Romeoville, Illinois, official, said in a press release. The line was shut at 12:45 p.m. by the company. Romeoville is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of Chicago. The closest refinery is Citgo Petroleum Corp.’s 170,500-barrel-a-day Lemont plant.
Canada is the largest exporter of crude oil to the U.S., sending 2.2 million barrels a day in June, according to the Energy Department. More than a quarter of that arrives by pipeline into the Chicago area.
Crude oil for October delivery rose 54 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $74.79 a barrel at 7:55 p.m. in New York Mercantile Exchange electronic trading. The discount between October and November contracts narrowed 47 cents to $1.07 a barrel.
Line 6A was among pipelines Calgary-based Enbridge was using to help redirect oil supply and reduce the amount of heavy crude oil in Alberta after the company shut its Line 6B in Michigan July 26 after a rupture.
“We have tried to redirect crude through Line 6A” and the Spearhead pipeline, the company president, Patrick Daniel, said in a conference call yesterday.
Refineries directly affected are Citgo’s Lemont refinery, BP Plc’s Whiting, Indiana, plant, ConocoPhillips’ Wood River, Illinois, plant and Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Joliet, Illinois, refinery, and there could be others, said Lewis Adam, president of ADMO Energy LLC, a supply consultant in Kansas City.
There “could be quite a ripple effect that goes beyond the front yard, it’s hard to measure,” he said. “It’s pretty significant since refineries have already been scrambling for crude.”
Those four refineries can process about 1.22 million barrels a day, almost half of the refinery capacity in states that comprise the Midwest refining region known as PADD 2 and about 7 percent of overall U.S. capacity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
There has been no impact to the DuPage River, Maggie Carson, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, said in a telephone interview. Enbridge crews have deployed absorbent material and a vacuum truck is there to remove free product, she said.
Enbridge’s 34-inch Line 6A runs 466 miles (750 kilometers) from Superior, Wisconsin, to Griffith, Indiana, according to an Enbridge website showing pipeline locations. It can carry light, medium and sour crudes.
Last week, Enbridge said it plans to operate its Line 6B at reduced rates after U.S. regulators approve its restart. The line, which has a capacity of 290,000 barrels a day, will be operated at 245,000 barrels a day.
The pipeline had a segment replaced after a rupture on the line in late July led to an estimated 19,500 barrels of oil pouring into the Talmadge Creek near Marshall, Michigan, and entering the Kalamazoo River, forcing local residents to evacuation and coating birds and plants with an oily residue.