Shell ups estimated release from E. Houston pipeline leak

HOUSTON, April 8 Mon Apr 8, 2013 7:51pm EDT

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HOUSTON, April 8 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc.'s U.S. subsidiary on Monday boosted the estimate of how much crude oil was released by a leak from its West Columbia pipeline in east Houston, the company said.

Shell Oil Co. said 940 barrels of crude are estimated to have leaked near Vince Bayou in east Houston from the 15-mile (24.1-kilometre), 16 inch (40.6-centimetre) West Columbia pipeline. Previously Shell has estimated a release of 700 barrels of crude.

Shell and its contractors were cleaning up an estimated 50 to 60 barrels of crude that leaked into Vince Bayou. The sheen from the oil in the Bayou has been contained by a hard boom to prevent the crude from flowing into Buffalo Bayou, which the Houston Ship Channel runs through.

Workers are preparing to excavate around a section of pipeline to identify where the leak originated, Shell said. They are also preparing to remove oil believed buried underground.

Shell shut the pipeline on March 29, when a drop in pressure along the pipeline was detected at Shell's control center.

The pipeline runs from an Enterprise Products terminal in the Genoa area in southeast Houston to a Magellan Midstream Partners tank farm in east Houston.

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