A natural gas pipeline jointly owned by Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners and operated by Kinder Morgan exploded Tuesday morning in Lee County, Illinois, killing two people and injuring two others, according to a Reuters report. The damaged part of the pipeline has been isolated and the area has been secured with local road closures by 1:15 p.m. Tuesday.
The explosion occurred on Kinder Morgan’s Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America (NGPL) system, a 9,200-mile long system that transports natural gas from Texas and Louisiana to Chicago. The NGPL system can transport more than 5.5 billion cubic feet of gas a day to markets and delivery points all along the system.
A preliminary investigation indicated that farm workers installing drainage tiles in the area tried to free a stuck tractor using a second tractor and one or the other accidentally struck the 20-inch pipeline.
Here is a map of the entire NGPL system. The explosion occurred on the east-west portion about 95 miles west of Chicago.
Kinder Morgan has issued a force majeure notice on the affected part of the pipeline indicating a “third-party strike” as the reason for taking a segment of its #1 line on the Illinois Lateral out of service. Affected delivery points are the Lee County generation plant and Invenergy’s Nelson plant. Two other delivery locations may experience limited availability of natural gas.
Kinder Morgan does not indicate when the force majeure will end. That will depend of the results of the investigation.