Enbridge Inc. reopens Buffalo-area pipeline

CALGARY — Enbridge Inc. restarted a pipeline near Buffalo, N.Y., on Tuesday after it found no crude was leaking from it, but it remains unclear when two Midwest pipelines, which have been shut due to leaks, will be up and running again.

CALGARY — Enbridge Inc. restarted a pipeline near Buffalo, N.Y., on Tuesday after it found no crude was leaking from it, but it remains unclear when two Midwest pipelines, which have been shut due to leaks, will be up and running again.

Some petroleum was found on a pipeline casing on Monday, prompting the Canadian pipeline giant to shut it down as a precaution, spokeswoman Terri Larson said.

“We suspected a possible low-volume leak. We did an investigation. We tested the pipeline, and did not find any other petroleum product,” she said from Marshall, Mich., the scene of a major leak in July.

Enbridge (TSX:ENB) will continue to monitor the Buffalo-area pipeline on-site for 24 hours, Larson said.

Meanwhile, it is still unknown when exactly Line 6B, which was affected by the Michigan spill, will be restarted. Line 6A near Chicago is also out of commission after it, too, sprung a leak last week.

Those closures have crimped Canadian crude producers’ ability to ship crude to their main market, the United States. If the closures last much longer, analysts are predicting a hit to those companies’ third-quarter profits.

Research by the Polaris Institute, an Ottawa-based activist group critical of corporations, found Enbridge has been responsible for 610 leaks between 1999 and 2008, which amounted to a total of 21 million litres spilled.

“For Enbridge in particular, the spills seem to be clumping in the past little while,” said Richard Girard, research and communications co-ordinator for the group.

Enbridge and fellow Canadian energy shipper TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) are proposing major new pipeline projects and expansions — a trend that worries Girard.

“All of these accidents are happening, and it’s becoming a scarier place,” he said.

“The more pipelines we have, the more accidents and spills we’re going to have.”