A nitrogen release during testing of a segment of Midcontinent Express Pipeline (MEP) in Mississippi Wednesday afternoon killed one worker and sent three to the hospital with “critical” injuries, according to the state’s Emergency Management Agency and a partner in the project.

The pipeline is a joint venture of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP and Energy Transfer Partners LLC. The incident occurred south of Sylvarena, MS, in Smith County. Kinder Morgan spokesman Joe Hollier said the pipeline segment was not in service and was being tested by Priority Energy, a subcontractor of Grand Bluff Construction. “We do not anticipate a delay for in-service dates [of the pipeline],” Hollier said. The pipeline is slated for operation by Aug. 1.

Although Mississippi Emergency Management Agency reported that there had been an explosion and a fire at the scene, Hollier said this was not the case. “There was no fire or explosion, just a nitrogen release as Priority Energy was pressuring the line as they were conducting the test,” Hollier told NGI.

More than half of the $1.3 billion pipeline project — from Bennington, OK, to Delhi, LA — was in interim service as of last month. When complete, MEP will extend from southeast Oklahoma across northeast Texas, northern Louisiana and central Mississippi to an interconnection with the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (Transco) near Butler, AL. The pipeline will be capable of delivering 1.5 Bcf/d. Last month MEP asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to begin service at compressor and booster stations (see Daily GPI, June 16).

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