A series of explosions in Midland County, Texas are currently being investigated after shutting down five natural gas pipelines and sending a total of seven people to the hospital. The explosions prompted road closures and evacuations of nearby homes and a school district, avoiding any further injuries.
The explosions occurred on Wednesday, August 1st at approximately 11:30 am local time, near a small Texas town just south of Dallas. The incident occurred at a location where two natural gas pipelines operated by Kinder Morgan and Navitas Midstream cross. Emergency crews responded to the initial incident, which was then followed by two more small explosions. A total of 7 people were sent to the hospital, including 2 local firefighters.
“They had a leak on the pipeline. Fire department responded to it. Midland Fire Department and Greenwood Fire Department. And while they were there, they were fighting some grass fires along with it,” Midland Fire Marshall Dale Little explained to CBS 7. “Apparently something happened to the pipeline. We don’t’ know what it is yet, because we can’t get in there to look at it. But they had a failure within the pipeline itself and the first one exploded. Then they had two other small explosions, one medium and one small.”
The fire that followed sent flames reaching high into the air, which witnesses reported could be seen for miles. The initial explosion rocked local homes and businesses. “I was out on my porch letting my dogs outside and I just heard this loud explosion, but it was more like a rumble,” explained Midland resident Amber Studie. “I mean, it was initially scary because. We didn’t know what it was, and the rumble, we felt the rumble. It was obviously loud, we could hear it but we could feel it too.”
While the explosion did cause damage to the involved pipelines, including Kinder Morgan’s El Paso Natural Gas (EPNG) line. The area of the pipeline that was impacted by the explosions has been isolated. Tyler Jubert, energy analyst at S&P Global Platts reports that the incident should have little influence on prices.
The incident started with a ruptured line, discovered by an excavation crew that was working on site. However, the cause of this rupture is still under investigation. Regulatory agencies and customers of the affected pipelines have been informed of the ongoing situation.