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Enbridge gets U.S. okay to return TETCO natgas pipe to full service

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(Reuters) - Enbridge Inc said federal pipeline safety regulators gave its Texas Eastern Transmission (TETCO) unit permission to return the Pennsylvania to Mississippi natural gas pipeline back to full pressure following a two-month reduction.

TETCO declared a force majeure on May 28 after the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) required the company to reinstate a 20% pressure restriction on two of three lines (Lines 10 and 15) that make up its 30-inch (76.2-cm) system between its Kosciusko, Mississippi, and Uniontown, Pennsylvania, compressor stations effective June 1.

That reduction cut flows from Appalachia to the Gulf Coast on the 30-inch system at the Danville compressor station in Kentucky to an average of 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in June and 1.4 bcfd so far in July from an average of 1.9 bcfd in May, according to Refinitiv data.

TETCO said in a notice to customers late Thursday that it was in the process of returning capacity through Danville back to around 1.9 bcfd on Aug. 4.

One billion cubic feet is enough gas to supply about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.

PHMSA's order came as part of the agency's increased monitoring of TETCO after three explosions in the last few years.

The first was in January 2019 in Ohio, the second in August 2019 in Kentucky, which was fatal, and the third in May 2020 in Kentucky.

Before allowing TETCO to return to full pressure after the third explosion, PHMSA required TETCO to conduct inspections and submit a request every 90 days to remain at full pressure.

PHMSA ordered the reduction after TETCO found "an anomaly" during a recent inspection that the agency wanted to investigate.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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