Williams natgas pipeline in Pennsylvania ruptures; no injuries

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 11, 2015 9:53 AM

(Reuters) - Williams Cos Inc said a natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania ruptured late Wednesday, requiring area residents to evacuate their homes briefly but causing no injuries or impact to service.

"There was no fire," Williams spokesman Chris Stockton said on Thursday as the company moved the flow of gas through the area to its other pipes in the area.

He said the rupture occurred in Lycoming County near the town of Unityville in the northeastern part of the state.

The breach was in a section of the Transco Leidy pipeline, which moves gas from the Leidy area in north central Pennsylvania to the main Transco pipeline in New Jersey.

The middle of three pipes in that section of the Leidy pipeline failed, Stockton said.

The Leidy pipeline moves gas from the Marcellus shale area of Pennsylvania. It is a bidirectional system with multiple lines that can transport in total about 3.5 billion cubic feet per day, Stockton said.

The United States consumes on average about 76 bcf per day of gas.

Stockton could not say how much gas was flowing or could flow through the section of pipe that ruptured but noted the company was using the other two pipes in the area to continue moving gas to and from customers.

"We responded to the rupture pretty quickly by remotely shutting off the flow of gas," Stockton said.

The line ruptured around 9:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday (0130 GMT Thursday), according to local media reports, causing a voluntary evacuation of residents living within three miles. Officials lifted the evacuation order at about 11:45 p.m.

Stockton said the company had a sample of metal from the pipe and was sending it to a lab to determine the cause of the failure. He could not immediately say when the pipe could return to service.

In Pennsylvania, Williams is building the 0.53 bcfd Leidy Southeast looping project to move more gas along the Leidy system and expects it to enter service late this year, according to the company's website.

Williams also said on its website that it was developing the 1.7 bcfd Atlantic Sunrise project to move gas from Pennsylvania to the Southeast. The project is not under construction but has a target date of summer 2017 to enter service.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)