Spectra says two NJ compressor stations down

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Spectra Energy on Tuesday said that two of its natural gas compressor stations in New Jersey were shut down when power was lost due to Hurricane Sandy, but the outages were not expected to impact gas supplies to customers.

“The Linden Compressor station and Franklin Compressor Station in New Jersey experienced emergency shut downs when they lost commercial power during the storm and the back-up generator did not come on as intended,” company spokeswoman Caitlin Currie said in an email.

“Both the Linden and Franklin stations aren’t running and we have determined they are not needed at this time to keep gas flowing to customers,” Currie added.

She said the emergency shutdown is a procedure designed to protect station staff, facilities, and the general public when any abnormal operating condition is detected within the station.

Spectra was investigating whether there was any storm damage to the stations and was working to get them back up and running as quickly as possible, Currie said.

Hurricane Sandy came ashore in New Jersey late on Monday and had barreled into Pennsylvania on Tuesday. The storm has knocked out power to more than 8 million customers along the East Coast so far.

Earlier, the company said that Sandy had caused power and communication outages at “the majority” of its facilities in the New York-New Jersey area, but customers on its Northeast natural gas pipeline systems remained unaffected.

“Following last night’s storm, we have begun early assessment of our employees and facilities,” the company said earlier in a website posting. It expects to have further information as the week progresses.

On Monday, Spectra said its Lambertville compressor station in West Amwell Township, New Jersey, and the Suffern meter station in New York were shut as the storm approached the region, but no impact on customers was expected.

Back-up generators were in place in anticipation of power outages.

The company also halted construction work on its New Jersey-New York pipeline project as of Sunday.

Reporting by Eileen Houlihan and Joe Silha; Editing by Dale Hudson and Leslie Gevirtz