A 36-inch diameter portion of the Oasis Pipeline System’s Waha-to-Katy line at a remote location in Central Texas, between San Antonio and Austin, ruptured and an explosion appears to have damaged a compressor station early Thursday morning.

The rupture and a release of natural gas occurred near the Prairie Lea Compressor Station, near Stairtown in Caldwell County, about 40 miles south of Austin, at about 7:45 a.m. CDT, said a spokesperson for the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC). The RRC has an inspector on site who is expected to issue a report on the cause of the rupture in 45 days.

“They have blocked off the section that ruptured and are doing a controlled burn,” the RRC spokesperson said. There were no injuries and no damage to nearby property.

The Oasis Pipeline “was last inspected in August 2007 and no violations were cited,” the spokesperson said.

A Bentek Energy analyst said the line had a 600 Mcf/d capacity and had been delivering 325-330 Mcf/d to interstate pipelines prior to the rupture. Supply distribution is not likely to be stopped, the analyst said, because gas could be shifted into Kinder Morgan’s 170 MMcf/d Rancho Pipeline or others in the area.

Oasis Pipeline, an Energy Transfer affiliate, said its Prairie Lea Compressor Station was shut down by a force majeure event and a formal notice will be forwarded to all affected shippers after an initial investigation of the incident. Normal operations will resume “as soon as possible,” Oasis said.

“Obviously the line was shut in immediately and blocked off,” said Energy Transfer spokesperson Vicki Granado said. “What’s happening now is that it’s just a controlled burn, dissipating the gas so that the teams can safely get in there and start their investigation and do an analysis of what happened and then make the necessary repairs to get the line back in service. It is under control and they are getting the gas to dissipate so they can get in.”

KXAN-TV in Austin said the explosion occurred at the Oasis plant in Stairtown. Officials from the nearby Prairie Lea School District said flames shot up 400 feet in the air, the station reported.

Oasis Pipeline is an intrastate natural gas pipeline that runs from the Permian Basin in West Texas to natural gas supply and market areas in southeast Texas.

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