Enbridge shuts Illinois oil pipeline after car crash, fire

Two people killed and several others injured

March 4 (Bloomberg) -- Enbridge Inc. said there is no timetable to restart a pipeline in Illinois that was shut early yesterday following a fire and crude oil release at a company facility.

The line was closed after two vehicles collided and ignited a fire at an Enbridge pumping station near New Lenox, Ill., about 36 miles (58 kilometers) southwest of Chicago. Two people were killed and several others injured in the crash that forced the company to shut lines 14/64 and 6A, Enbridge said. The 6A line has since been restarted, Calgary-based Enbridge said.

“The pipeline is just the right size to be significant,” said Peter Beutel, president of trading advisory company Cameronhanover.com in New Canaan, Connecticut. “The market is extremely sensitive right now. This and another item or two items may be enough push prices higher Monday.”

The 14/64 pipe has capacity of 320,000 barrels a day and travels from Superior, Wisconsin, to Mokena, Illinois, according to the Enbridge website. The 6A, which can carry 670,000 barrels a day, runs between Superior and Griffith, Indiana. Both pipelines carry light, heavy or synthetic crude to refineries in the Chicago area. Enbridge also slowed the movement of oil on its 2B and 3 lines running from Canada into the U.S., the company said. The 2B link can carry 410,000 barrels a day, while the 3 pipeline can carry 390,000 barrels a day.

“Crews are on the scene and doing damage assessment,” Enbridge spokeswoman Lorraine Little said in a telephone interview from Superior. Work was delayed while the vehicles were removed, she said. “We really don’t know how long it will take.”

BP, Citgo Operations

BP Plc operates its 420,000-barrel Whiting refinery in East Chicago, daily producing 7.5 million gallons of gasoline, 3 million gallons of diesel and 1.25 million gallons of jet fuel. Citgo Petroleum Corp. operates a refinery in Lemont, Illinois, processing about 170,500 barrels a day of crude oil for the Chicago-area market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Illinois had 973,000 barrels a day of refining capacity in January 2011, 5.5 percent of the U.S. total, according to the Energy Department.

Crude oil for April delivery reached $110.55 a barrel on March 1 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest intraday price since May 4. The contract settled at $106.70 on March 2.

The vehicle crash occurred about 3 a.m. Chicago time yesterday in an industrial area through which Enbridge’s pipe runs, the Chicago Tribune reported earlier. Enbridge is Canada’s largest oil-pipeline company.

Bloomberg News

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