A natural gas pipeline that burst earlier this month in northwest Oklahoma, shooting flames into the sky that were visible for miles is now back up and operating.
No one was hurt in the Oct. 8 explosion in a rural area of Harper County near the Kansas border. Northern Natural Gas Company of Omaha, NE, owns the pipeline.
The pipeline underwent repairs and is back in service, and customers who had been without natural gas for two weeks had their service restored Wednesday, said company spokesman Mike Loeffler.
Four homes ended up evacuated for several hours as a precaution, and some reported seeing the flames 30 miles away. Several who witnessed the fire described it as “the sun coming up in the north,” the Woodward News reported.
Northern Natural Gas purchases raw and cleaned gas from operators in northwest Oklahoma and ships it through the 30-inch pipeline to other companies that refine it further and deliver it for sale to the public, Loeffler said.
All joints ended up repaired on the pipe between its gate or block valves, which allow the isolation of a section of a pipeline in emergency situations, as officials needed after the Oct. 8 explosion, Loeffler said.
“Even though all of the pipeline in that section wasn’t involved, we replaced that whole section of pipeline,” he said.
The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.
“We are doing a full investigation into the cause of the explosion and what that means is that we send the pipe to the lab for analysis and that may take a few more weeks,” Loeffler said.