Kinder Morgan Inc. Wednesday morning declared a force majeure on a portion of its Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America (NGPL) natural gas pipeline in North Texas while media reports said "a massive orange haze" from a fire filled the area sky in the Texas Panhandle.

"A pipeline failure and fire was reported in a rural area shortly after 1:00 a.m. [CDT] Wednesday morning at Highway 152 and County Road 24 in Gray County east of Pampa, TX..." the company said. "The site of the failure was isolated and the pipeline was shut down. The fire is out and there were no injuries or evacuations. Company personnel and local emergency responders responded to the site. An investigation into the cause of the failure is under way. The impact to customers and NGPL revenues are expected to me minimal, if any."

News reports said an explosion was reported at about 1 a.m. State Highway 152 was closed early Wednesday morning, KVII-TV of Amarillo, TX, reported. According to KVII, the Gray County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Wheeler County Sheriff's Department, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Hoover, Lefors, McLean, Mobeetie and Wheeler volunteer fire departments all responded.

NGPL posted a customer notice of force majeure at 8:17 a.m. Wednesday. "Natural has experienced a failure on the Oklahoma Extension #1 (OE #1) pipeline just west of Compressor Station 154 in Gray County, Texas (Segment 6 of the Midcontinent Zone of the Amarillo System)," it said. "Both of the pipelines in the area have been isolated while further information is being gathered. This has resulted in a reduction in throughput capacity through Segment 6, potentially impacting all upstream supply in Segments 2, 5 and 6."

A noon update on the force majeure advised, "Effective immediately for gas day Wednesday, June 6, 2012, Intraday 1 cycle, and continuing until further notice, Natural must reduce the individual point capacity of receipt points nominated in Segments 5 and 6. Receipt points flowing less than 5,000 Dth/day will not be affected. ITS/AOR and Secondary out-of-path Firm transports are at risk of not being fully scheduled."

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