June 13, 2018 / 6:48 PM / 6 months ago

TransCanada working on Leach Xpress natgas pipe after West Virginia blast

(Reuters) - TransCanada Corp’s Columbia Gas Transmission (TCO) unit said it was working on a section of the Leach Xpress natural gas pipeline downstream of a pipe blast in West Virginia last week.

That work will enable the Stagecoach-Leach Xpress meter in southeast Ohio to return to service, according to a notice to customers late Tuesday.

The Stagecoach meter in Monroe County on the Ohio-West Virginia border connects to EQT Midstream Partners LP’s Strike Force South gathering fields in Monroe and Belmont counties in Ohio.

Strike Force can also deliver to Energy Transfer Partners LP’s Rover and Enbridge Inc’s Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) pipelines.

Columbia Gas said all other meters affected by the blast will remain at zero until the pipeline returns to service.

The company said did not say when the full pipe would return to service, noting the site of the incident is in the restoration process. Columbia Gas told customers it will provide an update on the status of the pipe on June 18.

The shutdown of Leach Xpress forced producers using the line to find other pipes to ship their gas out of the Marcellus and Utica shale regions of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

Alternative pipelines include ETP’s Rover, Tallgrass Energy Partners LP’s Rockies Express (REX), EQT Midstream Partners LP’s Equitrans and Enbridge’s Tetco, according to analysts at S&P Global Platts.

Columbia Gas, which declared a force majeure after the blast, said the damaged section of pipe could affect movement of about 1.3 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd). One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to fuel about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.

Energy analysts said overall output in the Appalachian region was little changed by the blast as producers, like Range Resources Corp and Southwestern Energy Co, found other pipes.

Appalachian output rose from 27.5 bcfd on June 7, the day of the blast, to 27.7 bcfd over the weekend before easing to 27.3 bcfd on Tuesday, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The 1.5-bcfd Leach Xpress in West Virginia and Ohio, which entered full service at the start of this year, transports Marcellus and Utica shale gas to consumers in the U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast.

The 12,000-mile (19,312-km) Columbia pipeline system, which TransCanada acquired in 2016, serves millions of customers from New York to the Gulf of Mexico.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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