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Energy and Resources Enbridge needs U.S. approval to restart natural gas pipeline after Kentucky blast

Canadian energy company Enbridge Inc. said it is working to meet the terms of an order from federal regulators so it can restart the part of its Texas Eastern pipeline in Kentucky that was damaged in a blast on Aug. 1 that killed one person.

The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a corrective action order last week requiring the company to perform several tasks before the regulator will allow any flows through the blast site, near Danville, Kentucky.

Enbridge said in a release on Friday it was “working diligently to comply with the requirements identified by the PHMSA, and to return to service two adjacent natural gas pipelines near the incident site that were taken out of service as a precautionary safety measure.”

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Texas Eastern has three lines between its Danville and Tompkinsville compressors in Kentucky that make up its 30-inch (76-centimeter) system. They are Lines 10, 15 and 25. The blast occurred on Line 15, which PHMSA said was constructed beginning in 1942.

PHMSA said Enbridge could not restart Lines 10 and 25 without further investigation because the blast might have also damaged the lines.

Enbridge did not estimate when it will restart Lines 10 and 25, but there will be no gas flows through the blast site through at least Aug. 16.

Before restarting gas flows through the blast site, PHMSA said, Enbridge must uncover and inspect parts of the lines and perform mechanical and metallurgical testing, among other things.

In addition to killing one person, the explosion injured at least six other people, destroyed multiple structures and caused a fire that damaged about 30 acres.

PHMSA said the blast also released about 66 million cubic feet of gas, ejected a 30-foot (9.1 meter) section of Line 15 that landed about 460 feet from the failure site and resulted in a 50-foot long, 13-foot deep crater.

The agency noted this was not the first blast for this pipe in the area. Line 15 also failed in November 2003 near Morehead, Kentucky, about 100 miles northeast of Danville.

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The Aug. 1 blast was also the second so far this year on the Texas Eastern system following an explosion in Ohio in January that injured at least two people.

And it was the third big blast for Enbridge in less than a year following an explosion in British Columbia on its Westcoast system in October.

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