By Houston Business Journal

A day after Enbridge Energy Partners LP said it had shut in the pipeline that had been leaking oil into a river in southern Michigan since Monday morning, efforts were doubled to contain and clean up the spill.

Enbridge Energy Partners, the Houston affiliate of Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc. (NYSE: ENB), owns the 30-inch Lakehead System pipeline, which is capable of transporting 190,000 barrels a day and runs from Ontario to Indiana.

On a conference call Tuesday, Enbridge estimated that the underground line leaked about 19,500 barrels, or 800,000 gallons, of crude into a creek near Enbridgeâ¿¿s Marshall, Mich., pump station before shut-off valves closed the line on Tuesday. Oil from the leak spread to the Kalamazoo River, traveling about 16 miles downstream and heading toward Lake Michigan.

Enbridge Inc. Chief Executive Officer Patrick Daniel told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that the accident is the second- or third- worst spill for the company. He said Enbridge⿿s ⿿highest priority⿝ would be to minimize the impact on the environment and the public.

By Wednesday, he said that Enbridge (NYSE: EEP) is doubling its 150-person work force in Michigan and will boost the size of booms to 31,000 feet from 14,000 feet. The pipeline company plans to next unearth the pipeline so that it can try to figure out what caused the rupture.

Michigan officials have expressed concern at what they perceive to be a slow response to cleaning up one of the stateâ¿¿s major waterways. Several dozen residents near the Kalamazoo River had to evacuate from their homes as a result of the rupture. The spill is considered to be one of the largest in the Midwest.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday morning Enbridge Energy Partners announced that Enbridge Pipelines LP, the Texas gathering arm of the company, will acquire $682 million worth of gas gathering assets from Atlas Pipeline Partners LP (NYSE: APL).

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals

Copyright 2010