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Natural Gas Pipeline Explodes Southwest Of Houston

A natural gas pipeline operated by Energy Transfer exploded on Thursday in a rural area southwest of Houston, local authorities said, adding that the fire was extinguished some two hours after the explosion on the transmission line.

The explosion occurred in the morning local time on Thursday. No injuries have been reported, and there has not been damage to any structures, Chad Norvell, Constable of the Fort Bend County, said. The fire was extinguished at 12:15 p.m. CET on Thursday, Fort Bend County later confirmed.

Energy Transfer, the operator of the natural gas transmission pipeline, told Reuters in an emailed statement that “Our control center immediately shut in the line and the area was secured.”

According to Victoria Cann, a spokesperson for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the company had reported a release of natural gas from the pipeline. 

The Railroad Commission of Texas, which regulates oil and gas activities and pipelines in the state, said it would investigate the explosion. Spokesperson Andrew Keese told Reuters the commission had already started the investigation. The pipeline operator, Energy Transfer, is also investigating the reasons for the explosion.

Meanwhile, benchmark U.S. natural gas prices at the Henry Hub surged on Thursday above $6 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a smaller than expected injection into gas storage for the week to July 1. Natural gas prices in the U.S. have eased from recent highs since the Freeport LNG export facility halted operations in early June due to a fire. Force majeure at Freeport LNG is set to continue until September, and the plant is expected to return to some capacity by the end of the year. As a result of lower U.S. LNG exports, the benchmark natural gas prices in America fell, as more gas would be now available for domestic consumption.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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