Maryland Cove Point LNG feedgas drops after Virginia natgas pipe fire

(Reuters) - The shutdown of part of Canadian energy company TC Energy's Columbia Gas Transmission Pipeline in Virginia after a fire on Tuesday has reduced the amount of gas flowing to the Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Maryland, the plant told customers.

Columbia Gas declared a force majeure and isolated a section of its pipeline after detecting a pressure drop due to an unplanned incident in Strasburg, Virginia, on Tuesday.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy's Cove Point said in a note to customers that gas supplies from Columbia Gas's Loudoun LNG interconnect were currently at or near zero.

Cove Point, which can get gas from other pipes, was on track to pull in about 0.4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas on Wednesday, down from an average of 0.8 bcfd in the months prior to the Columbia pipeline incident on Tuesday.

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

The fire was extinguished on Tuesday. TC Energy did not say if the fire caused the drop in pipeline pressure.

There were no reported injuries to workers or members of the public and a section of the affected pipeline remains shut, the company said on Tuesday.

A source told Reuters that the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is investigating the rupture associated with the 26-inch gas pipe.

On Monday, the day before incident, TC Energy said it will divest a 40% interest in its Columbia Gas Transmission and Columbia Gulf Transmission pipelines for C$5.2 billion ($3.95 billion) to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).

The pipelines span more than 15,000 miles (24,140 kilometers) and deliver a substantial portion of daily U.S. gas demand, including about 20% of U.S. LNG export supply, according to TC Energy.

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