* Enbridge Line 2 ordered to lower pressure
* Regulator was concerned about cracking
* Line operating at 80 pct of normal pressure
CALGARY, Alberta, June 20 Canadian regulators
ordered Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) to cut pressure on its 440,000
barrel per day Line 2 last October after raising concerns that
the company might not be able to detect cracks in the oil
The National Energy Board's order remains in effect. It
restricts the pipeline, which runs from Edmonton, Alberta, to
Superior, Wisconsin, to operating at 80 percent of normal
pressure, according to documents provided by the regulator.
The board said it was concerned that Enbridge might not be
able to consistently identify cracks in pipes laid before the
1970s using flash-welding techniques.
"The board notes a correlation between pre-1970s flash
welded pipe and cracking-related incidents on Enbridge's
pipelines," it said in its letter to the company. "The board
also notes that Enbridge's hazard identification practices have
not been consistently reliable in detecting, identifying and
sizing cracking-related anomalies in the pre-1970s flash welded
The regulator said it has ordered the company to operate at
reduced pressure until it demonstrates it can "effectively
identify, assess and mitigate cracking on its Canadian
In its letter to Enbridge, the board said it had been
monitoring the investigation into a July rupture on the
company's Line 6B in Michigan that spilled more than 20,000
barrels of oil into a river system.
The spill was the first of a series that occurred on
Canadian-operated pipelines over the past year, with aging
lines being the worst hit.
Factbox on recent pipeline ruptures: [ID:nN31290944]
Following the Michigan spill, the regulator reexamined
incidents of cracking in the Enbridge lines that it oversees
and said the number of cracks found in Line 2 had not decreased
It set a series of conditions on the company before it will
allow the line to return to normal operating pressures. They
include asking Enbridge for additional testing on all parts of
the line built using flash welding before 1970, and asking the
company to demonstrate it can detect and mitigate cracks.
Earlier this month the board also put pressure restrictions
on Enbridge's Norman Wells pipeline in the Northwest
Territories after it leaked as much as 1,500 barrels of oil.
That line was also cut to 80 percent of normal pressure.
Enbridge could not be reached for comment immediately.
(Reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Peter Galloway)