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Columbia Gas Transmission restoring Ohio meter station after pipe explosion

A TransCanada Corp. unit is trying to restore the downstream portion of the Leach XPress gas transmission pipeline after a June 7 explosion in western West Virginia that triggered a declaration of force majeure.

The company is trying to complete enough restoration work to allow the Stagecoach meter in eastern Ohio to return to service, TransCanada subsidiary Columbia Gas Transmission LLC said in a June 13 posting for its customers. The company said it would notify customers as soon as the meter becomes available again for gas nominations.

No other meters that were taken out of service after the Leach XPress explosion will go back into use until the pipeline comes back online.

"The site of the incident is in the restoration process and the return to service is unknown at this time," the informational posting said, noting that Columbia Gas Transmission would provide an update on the pipeline's status June 18.

In close proximity to the Marcellus and Utica, the Leach XPress system is nestled among a number of crisscrossing pipeline systems, including Enbridge Inc.'s Texas Eastern, Kinder Morgan Inc.'s Tennessee Gas Pipeline and Dominion Energy Transmission Inc. infrastructure. Prices at Northeast gas hubs — including Dominion South, Dominion North, TETCO M2 and TETCO M3 — have been somewhat depressed since Columbia Gas Transmission declared force majeure on the Leach XPress transmission line, taking the pipe's roughly 1.5 Bcf/d of capacity offline. The shut-in has partially limited the ability of Appalachian gas to get to market.

Leach XPress, which went into service at the beginning of 2018, would normally carry gas from southeast Ohio, West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania west across Ohio and then south to an interconnect in Leach, Ky. Kaiser Francis Oil Co., Ascent Resources, Range Resources Corp., Noble Energy Inc. and Gulfport Energy Corp. all subscribed to Leach XPress capacity, but the companies have been making use of alternative routes to ship their product to market.

The transmission rupture and fire did not cause any injuries but affected about 10 acres of land, according to the Marshall County (W.Va.) Office of Emergency Management. TransCanada and its Columbia Gas subsidiary have not identified the explosion's cause.