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ETP Files Initial Report On Texas Pipeline Blast, Investigation Ongoing

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) LP told Texas regulators this week that nearly 166,000 pounds of volatile organic compounds burned off into the atmosphere before a natural gas pipeline explosion and fire in the southern part of the state could be brought under control.

An explosion and fire broke out after a 42-inch section of the company's Rich Eagle Ford Mainline (REM) ruptured late Sunday in DeWitt County, about 86 miles southeast of San Antonio (see Daily GPI, June 15). Both ETP and the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) are investigating what caused the pipeline to fail. No injuries were reported.

In a report to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), ETP said 165,732 pounds of VOCs were burned before the company could shut-in the damaged section and reroute gas. After the blast was isolated, however, TCEQ said those emissions were not a threat to public health absent smoke from the fire.

It remains unclear how much natural gas was lost in the rupture, or when repairs to the system could be complete. ETP spokeswoman Vicki Anderson Granado said earlier this week that production had not been affected by the rupture. The company's Jackson County processing plant has been shut-in and gas is being moved to other plants in the region.

The 230-mile, 600 MMcf/d REM gathers natural gas from the Eagle Ford Shale for delivery to the Jackson County processing plant east of DeWitt County. Seven homes were evacuated after the blast, but that order has since been lifted. The RRC noted that gathering lines are not regulated in the state. Both ETP and regulators don't know when the investigation will conclude.

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