Tallgrass isolates Ohio natgas pipeline segment after rupture

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(Reuters) – Tallgrass Energy Partners LP said it had isolated a segment of its Seneca Lateral pipeline following an unexpected release of natural gas and fire in Noble County, Ohio on Wednesday morning, and reported no injuries or evacuations.

The cause of the incident on the 24-inch (61-centimeter) pipeline between the MarkWest processing plant and the Rockies Express (REX) pipeline was being investigated, the company said.

“Many area residents reported an explosion and fire,” Noble County Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.

“There are multiple pipelines in the same footprint and several facilities in the area … all fires are out.”

“At approximately 2:30 Eastern time this morning (Jan. 31), the Seneca Lateral experienced a natural gas release in a rural area between State Route 513 and State Route 379 in Noble, County Ohio,” Tallgrass Energy spokesman Phyllis Hammond said in an email.

In a report to customers, Tallgrass’ REX pipeline said its Seneca Lateral segment would remain unavailable until repairs could be made.

The company did not say when those repairs would be completed but noted that REX was mobilizing crews.

Tallgrass also said that the MarkWest Seneca-Noble and Rover-Noble points would be unavailable until further notice.

About 0.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas was scheduled to flow through Rover’s Seneca Lateral on Wednesday, down from an average of about 0.3 bcfd over the past two weeks, according to Reuters data. Rover’s Seneca Lateral is not the same pipe as REX’s Seneca Lateral.

Officials at Energy Transfer Partners LP, that owns Rover, said the pipeline was operating safely.

Overall flows on the Rover pipe were expected to decline to about 0.9 bcfd on Wednesday from an average of over 1 bcfd over the past couple of weeks, the Reuters data showed.

One bcfd of gas is enough to power about five million homes.

MPLX LP’s MarkWest Energy unit owns the MarkWest Seneca processing plant in Ohio.

Companies that operate pipelines in the vicinity have shut their facilities as a precaution, said Chasity Schmelzenbach, director of Noble County Emergency Management Agency.

Reporting by Arpan Varghese, Eileen Soreng and Swati Verma in Bengaluru and Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and James Dalgleish