New Media in Oklahoma is reporting that a natural gas pipeline in the state has exploded. The pipeline, located near Kiowa southwest of Oklahoma City, exploded at around 12:30 CDT, 13:30 EST, today. A recent report from local news source the Tulsa World, said that the explosion caused no injuries.
According to that report, the explosion happened about half a mile from U.S. 169 south of Kiowa. The town is 100 miles south of Tulsa. The pipeline operator is Enable Midstream Partners, a partnership between CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE:CNP) and OGE Energy Corp. (NYSE:OGE). Company officials are said to be investigating the explosion.
Oklahoma gas explosion
The explosion caused little damage according to local media sources, bar some damage to a barn near the pipeline. Oklahoma is one of the many states at the center of the recent boom in the natural gas industry which is seeing pipeline networks expand across the United States. The Oklahoma explosion appears to have been harmless to humans, but it may not be the last such incident as the energy source becomes more common.
The dangers of natural gas
Today's pipeline explosion demonstrates the dangers involved in natural gas, a growing source of energy in the United States. Though the substance is cheaper and cleaner than oil, it is volatile. Open flames cause explosion when they they come into contact with natural gas. Oil pipeline leaks, while dangerous in themselves, do not cause the kind of immediate danger that natural gas pipelines can.
This incident appears to not have caused injury, and its cause remains a mystery, but natural gas pipelines may be vulnerable and without proper safety measures and security, incidents like this one have the potential to cause serious injury and property damage. The natural gas industry is growing, but that growth needs to come with the proper safety procedures in order to avoid tragedy.