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NGPL Shutters Portion of Illinois Lateral NatGas Line Following Fatal Explosion

A tragic natural gas pipeline explosion Tuesday morning in a rural area 95 miles from Chicago led Kinder Morgan Inc. subsidiary Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America (NGPL) to shutter a portion of its Illinois Lateral 1 line and reduce pressure on a second segment.

At about 9:35 a.m. CST on Tuesday, a third-party line strike caused a natural gas release on a 20-inch pipeline segment of NGPL’s system in Lee County, IL. Two men were killed and two men were severely injured.

According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Department, workers were attempting to free a tractor laying field tile using another tractor, which inadvertently struck the buried gas pipeline, causing the release, fire and two fatalities and two injuries.

Saukvalley.com reported that the tractor attempting to free the stuck tractor “lost traction and struck the pipe, causing it to explode.”

“Unfortunately, a required one call notification was not provided to the company prior to the work being performed,” Kinder’s spokeswoman said.

As of Wednesday morning, “the impacted pipeline has been isolated and the area was secured,” she said.

The third-party line strike on the lateral, segment 29 of the Iowa-Illinois zone, forced NGPL to declare a force majeure and take a portion of the lateral out of service. The Illinois Lateral 2 was still in service but was operating at reduced pressure, according to an electronic bulletin board posting. Some delivery areas in Illinois may experience “limited availability.”

Kinder “is working with local, state and federal agencies on response efforts, and appropriate regulatory agencies have been notified,” said the spokeswoman. “The company is working with customers on any impacts to service. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the injured and deceased.”

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