The Woodward News

October 24, 2013

Ruptured pipeline back in operation

Rachael Van Horn
CNHI News Service

Woodward, Okla. — Fifteen days after a 30 inch pipeline burst about 10 miles north of Rosston, the pipeline is repaired and back in service, according to company officials who operate the pipeline.

“We just completed the final repairs today,” said Mike Loeffler of Northern Natural Gas Company of Omaha, Neb.

Northern Natural Gas Company purchases raw and cleaned gas from operators in this region and ships the gas through their pipeline to other companies that refine it further and deliver it for sale to the public, Loeffler said.

On the night of Oct 7, around 11 p.m., in a little known community called Ditch Valley situated near  the Oklahoma-Kansas boarder on State Hwy 283, a 30 inch pipeline exploded with enough force and fire, it was seen from as far away as 30 miles away.

Natural gas fueled the flame that some described as “the sun coming up in the north” and burned all night until it finally flamed down to that of a candle flicker by mid morning October 9.

That was achieved after gas company employees worked tirelessly all night to shut the valves that fed gas to the pipeline.

According to Loeffler, repairs are complete on the ravaged section of pipe and customers who utilized a farm tap in the region and had been out of gas for the last two weeks, were put back into service Wednesday.

Loeffler said the repairs to the massive line were made by replacing all the joints of 30 inch pipe between all of the “gate” or “block” valves.

 Block valves are spaced on such a way where an entire section of pipeline can be isolated in just such an emergency that happened Oct 8., he said.

In this way, an affected segment of the pipeline can be shut down without stopping all gas from flowing north to the Nebraska Company’s customers.

“Even though all of the pipeline in that section wasn’t involved, we replaced that whole section of pipeline,” he said.

While the pipeline has been returned to function, 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.