Oil spills cause gas price spike in Midwest

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil spills in the Midwest have caused spikes in gasoline prices there, though Enbridge Inc., the company that owns the leaked pipelines, said the worst of it is over.

Enbridge has closed three pipelines this summer to investigate and fix the problems, with the most recent pipeline closure happening on Monday.

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With the flow of oil stopped, Motorists in the Midwest have been hit with hefty increases in gas prices of up to 30 cents per gallon, said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with Oil Price Information Service.

"It's a little like having a blockage in an artery; it's not going to kill the patients but there has to be some rerouting," he said, referring to the pipelines. "The good news is that it's calming down a little bit. This shall pass."

Enbridge (ENB) spokeswoman Terry Larson said the company on Monday shut down its third pipeline for the summer, after oil was detected by construction workers working on a sewage facility near a section of pipe running from Ontario to New York state. But that pipeline is already back on line, she said.

"At this point there is no indication that there was a leak on the pipeline," she said, noting that the investigation stemmed from the discovery of less than a gallon of oil by the construction crew.

But there were leaks on two other pipelines, one at line 6A in Romeoville, Ill. near Chicago, and the other at line 6B at Marshall, Mich., she said.

Both those pipelines are shut down, though 6B in Michigan has been repaired and is awaiting approval to be restarted by authorities, she said. Also, she said the clean-up of affected rivers and streams is on track to meet the Sept. 27 deadline mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Larson said that Enbridge has a welding crew repairing the 6A in Illinois.

Kloza noted that Enbridge has been particularly diligent in taking care of the problem, having witnessed the public outrage towards another oil spill company: BP (BP).

"No one wants to be the next political or corporate media whipping boy," he said. To top of page

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