Enbridge pipeline crews expect to finish cleaning up a 3,000-barrel crude oil spill near Neche, N.D., sometime today.

The leak, reported to be about 126,000 gallons of light crude oil, was detected late Friday night by an Enbridge Energy Partners control center.

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Crews were repairing the pipeline and cleaning the site Monday.

The leak occurred north and east of Neche, just off 109th Avenue, east of N.D. Highway 18, near the U.S.-Manitoba border.

"It's fairly deep, but it's not that big of an area," Pembina County Sheriff Brian Erovick said.

Enbridge officials said the pipeline immediately was shut down and isolated by closing valves upstream and downstream of the suspected leak site. The leak was contained within the Enbridge right-of-way, according to Lorraine Grymala, community affairs manager at Enbridge.

Pipeline employees and contractors are on site removing crude oil from the affected section of the pipeline right-of-way. The affected area is about 700 feet by 40 feet in size.

"The leak occurred in the middle of a field and was largely contained within our right-of-way. There were no impacts to water or wildlife," Grymala said.

The cause of the leak is under investigation by Enbridge and pipeline regulatory authorities. The cleanup includes vacuuming the oil up and transporting it to one of Enbridge's terminals, Grymala said.

"In this case, the oil is being trucked to our terminal in Clearbrook, Minn., where it will be re-injected into our system," she said. "Other cleanup procedures include scraping off any soil or snow that was affected by the spill and transporting that to a location where it will be disposed. Our regulators are on the scene working with Enbridge's environmental staff to monitor the cleanup process."

Other regulators who visited the site Monday included the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the North Dakota Department of Health.

The 26-inch pipeline was built and put into service in the mid-1970s. It runs from Cromer, Man., to Superior, Wis. The segment of what is known as Line 2b between Cromer and Clearbrook, was expected to remain out of service through Monday.

Oil that was designated for transportation on Line 2b is being moved on other Enbridge pipelines that parallel Line 2b until service is restored on that pipeline.

"Enbridge has a routine inspection and maintenance program on all of its pipelines that make sure the lines are operating safely. We use internal inspection tools to help detect cracks or dents that can then be excavated and repaired," Grymala said. "Enbridge also has a round-the-clock pipeline control system that monitors pressures and conditions along the pipeline. In addition, the lines are a monitored visually through regular air patrols of our right-of-way."

Enbridge is building a new pipeline -- called the Alberta Clipper -- between Alberta and Superior, Wis. The new pipeline, which parallels the line that leaked and is located in the same right-of-way, is expected to be placed into service later this year. Initially, it will carry about 450,000 gallons a day, with a maximum capacity of about 800,000 gallons daily.

Reach Bonham at (701) 780-1110; (800) 477-6572, ext. 110; or send e-mail to kbonham@gfherald.com.