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TX Pipeline Explosion Under Investigation

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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Officials are investigating what led to an explosion on a natural gas pipeline in Refugio County, Texas, early on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 15.

No injuries were reported in relation to the blast, which occurred just after midnight, in a rural area near the Gulf Coast, north of Corpus Christi. The pipeline affected was part of Kinder Morgan’s Tejas pipeline system.

200-Foot Flames

According to local reports, the heat of the fire could be felt from a quarter-mile away, and witnesses say flames reached 200 feet into the air. Monitoring equipment alerted Kinder Morgan of the leak, and crews had the flames under control less than two hours later. Kinder Morgan notified authorities and launched an investigation.

A Kinder Morgan spokesperson told the Victoria Advocate that no cause had been determined in the immediate aftermath of the explosion on the 36-inch pipeline.

Recent Excavation

The Houston Chronicle reports that the section of line where the explosion occurred had been recently excavated for maintenance work, but no work on the pipe had begun yet, and Kinder Morgan said it’s not possible to determine yet whether the excavation played any role in the blast.

The local sheriff in Refugio County told reporters the explosion occurred at an apparent “weak spot” in the pipeline, a characterization the Chronicle says Kinder Morgan disputes.

Kinder Morgan Background

Kinder Morgan owns the largest network of natural gas pipelines in North America, with approximately 70,000 miles of pipeline total, according to the company. The Kinder Morgan Tejas system includes approximately 3,400 miles, with lines that stretch to northeast Texas, Louisiana, Austin, and the Mexican boder, many passing through or near Houston.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Explosions; Fire; Health & Safety; North America; Oil and Gas; Pipeline

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