July 2 (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp's Columbia Gas Transmission unit pushed back the date the section of its Leach Xpress natural gas pipeline in West Virginia will resume service to mid-July from an earlier forecast of early July.
The pipe was damaged in a blast on June 7.
The company changed the restoration date in a notice to shippers using the line on Friday.
The Leach shutdown forced producers using the line to find other pipes to move gas out of the Marcellus and Utica shale regions of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.
Alternative pipelines include ETP's Rover, Tallgrass Energy Partners LP's Rockies Express (REX), EQT Midstream Partners LP's Equitrans and Enbridge's Tetco, according to analysts at S&P Global Platts.
Columbia Gas, which declared a force majeure after the blast, said the damaged section of pipe in Marshall County could affect movement of about 1.3 billion cubic feet per day. One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to fuel about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.
Energy analysts, however, said overall output in the Appalachian region was little changed by the blast as producers, like Range Resources Corp and Southwestern Energy Co , found other pipes to move their gas.
Appalachian output has actually increased to around 28.0 bcfd in recent days, up from around 27.5 bcfd before the blast, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The 1.5-bcfd Leach Xpress in West Virginia and Ohio, which entered full service at the start of this year, transports Marcellus and Utica shale gas to consumers in the U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast.
The 12,000-mile (19,312-km) Columbia pipeline system, which TransCanada acquired in 2016, serves millions of customers from New York to the Gulf of Mexico.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Dan Grebler