Enbridge to keep Kentucky gas pipe shut for at least a week after blast

(Reuters) - Canadian energy company Enbridge Inc said the section of its Texas Eastern pipeline in Kentucky that exploded on Thursday, killing one person, will remain shut through at least Aug. 12.

FILE PHOTO: The Enbridge Tower is pictured on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on August 4, 2012. REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber/File Photo

Enbridge said in a notice to customers Monday afternoon it is working with federal and state officials investigating the incident and has not estimated when the damaged section of pipe will return to service.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has assumed control of the incident site in Kentucky and Enbridge said it is supporting that investigation.

The blast, near Danville, Kentucky, was the second so far this year on the Texas Eastern system following an explosion in Ohio in January that injured at least two people.

It was also the third big blast for Enbridge in less than a year following an explosion in British Columbia on its Westcoast system in October.

Traders noted the Kentucky blast had only a temporary impact on production in the Appalachia region, which has since returned to record levels.

At the time of the blast, about 1.7 billion cubic feet of gas (bcfd) were flowing south from the Marcellus and Utica shale in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia through the damaged section of pipe toward the Gulf Coast, according to data from analytics firm Refinitiv.

That represents about 2% of the 90 bcfd of all the gas produced in the Lower 48 U.S. states. One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to supply about five million U.S. homes for a day.

After the blast, producers in Appalachia briefly reduced output to 31.8 bcfd on Thursday from a record high of 32.6 bcfd earlier in the week, according to Refinitiv data.

They have since boosted production to new high of 32.7 bcfd.

Enbridge said it restricted north-to-south flows through the Danville compressor to zero. To supply customers in the Southeast, gas is now flowing north on Texas Eastern from the Gulf Coast to Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky, according to Refinitiv data.

Enbridge said Texas Eastern has three lines between its Danville and Tompkinsville compressors in Kentucky that make up its 30-inch (76-centimeter) system. The lines are Line 10, 15 and 25. The blast occurred on Line 15.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Susan Thomas and Steve Orlofsky