OREANDA-NEWS. Colonial Pipeline said it plans to restart a critical gasoline pipeline on 5 November after it was shut by a fatal blast, but left open the possibility of an extended outage on its 1.3mn b/d supply link from Texas to North Carolina.

The company today maintained plans to resume service on Line 1 at noon on 5 November, "though that is based upon certain assumptions that may change as we move forward," Colonial said in a notice to shippers.

The pipeline operator will also "evaluate options to move gasoline to certain markets prior to the expected restart of Line 1," the company said.

Line 1 moves gasoline from the Houston, Texas, area to terminals across the southeast and into Greensboro, North Carolina. The 5,500-mile (8,851km) products system continues from there through the east coast to the New York Harbor market.

A nine-person crew working to unearth the pipeline triggered the 31 October blast when a trackhoe struck the active pipe, releasing and igniting gasoline. One contractor was killed and six others were wounded.

The company did not address whether the fire was extinguished or if workers had assessed damage on the pipeline in the shipper notification.

Workers were there to prepare for repairs to a leaking pipeline segment that caused an unusually long 13-day outage that began 9 September. The shutdown led to isolated gasoline shortages, increased retail prices and caused suppliers to turn to tankers or trucks to supply terminals. At least one US Gulf coast refiner cut gasoline production during the outage.

Colonial has not said what whether it still plans to complete repairs to the September break by mid-November.

The company has left open the possibility of moving gasoline across its Line 2 distillates twin. Colonial used that approach for a short period of September. The move would allow limited supply to southeastern markets while again cutting distillates and jet fuel deliveries.