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Page added on November 29, 2007

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DOE could tap oil reserve after fire

The government said Thursday it is prepared to tap emergency crude-oil stockpiles to mitigate the effects of a pipeline disruption in the Midwest.

One of four lines owned by Enbridge Energy Inc. that carries crude oil from Canada to the Chicago area ignited late Wednesday, killing two workers and prompting the shutdown of three other lines that carry a combined 1.5 million barrels a day.

The pipeline that caught fire, which delivers roughly half a million barrels a day, according to one analyst, had already been shut as it underwent repairs. Two of the pipelines were pumping crude again by Thursday morning, though oficials were still determining how long it would take to get the third line up and running again.

The U.S. has 63.5 million barrels of oil reserves in the Midwest region, which “can provide a cushion … (and) oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is available to alleviate a severe supply disruption and remains available if necessary,” Energy Department spokeswoman Megan Barnett said Thursday.

Business Week

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