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West Virginia gas pipeline suffers massive explosion and fire

11 June 2018

A newly installed TransCanada natural gas pipeline exploded on June 7 in the remote Nixon Ridge area of Marshall County in West Virginia. No injuries were reported but flames and smoke from the blast could be seen as far as 20 miles away, residents told local media. Area police told CBS News the fire was very large.

Stock image
Stock image

The affected line is TransCanada's $1.6 billion, 160-mile Leach XPress pipeline, which started service in January. TransCanada said the explosion has been contained and an investigation was underway.

"The cause of this issue is not yet known," the company said. "The site of the incident has been secured and we are beginning the process of working with applicable regulators to investigate, including the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration."

Ecowatch reported that Russ Girling, TransCanada president and CEO, said at the line opening: "This is truly a best-in-class pipeline and we look forward to many years of safe, reliable, and efficient operation on behalf of our customers."

TransCanada said the incident could impact about 1.3 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas service, according to a notice to customers using the pipeline. One billion cubic feet is enough gas for about five million US homes.

The company did not say when it expected the pipeline to return to service, but said it was declaring force majeure.

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