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ATEX Expected to Return to Service by Friday

Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD) said Wednesday that repairs on its Appalachia-to-Texas Express (ATEX) ethane pipeline, which ruptured Jan. 26, are complete and that it expects the 1,265-mile line to be back in full-service on Friday.

EPD spokesman Rick Rainey said the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has approved the company's start-up plan. A 20-inch diameter section of the pipeline in Brooke County, WV, ruptured and caught fire last month, limiting takeaway capacity from a liquids rich section of the Marcellus Shale in southwest Pennsylvania (see Shale Daily, Jan. 29; Jan. 26). Since the incident, deliveries have been made downstream of the rupture.

The pipeline runs from Washington County, PA to EPD's Mont Belvieu, TX, complex and has a capacity of 125,000 b/d. It entered service in January 2014 (see Shale Daily, Dec. 5, 2013). In its preliminary findings, PHMSA said the rupture led to the loss of 23,901 bbl of ethane and noted that the pipe failed near a weld.

Range Resources Corp., which ships on the line, said that despite the outage, it has been satisfying its commercial ethane commitments through access on Sunoco Logistics Partners LP's Mariner West pipeline.

It remains unclear what caused the rupture and how much the damage cost.

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