Over the past few months, there has been a spate of explosions and fires at food factories across the United States and now there seems to be a similar trend emerging around export facilities that cater to the oil and gas industry.
A few weeks ago, an explosion at Freeport’s LNG export terminal, stopped exports from the facility, which were destined for Europe, decreasing the price of natural gas in the United States, while increasing the price for the already fuel-starved European Union.
The latest explosion happened at a natural gas gathering and processing facility located near Medford, Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon and it is likely that this will disrupt exports from the Texas Gulf Coast.
Medford is about 85 miles south of Wichita, Kansas and the facility, owned by Oneok, Inc., is a leading midstream service provider and operator of a major natural gas liquids (NGL) system.
Grant County Sheriff’s Office noted on Facebook, “There is an active incident at the plant south of town, and we are asking all residents south of Main Street to evacuate your homes and go to the Medford public school building.”
Oneok released a statement about the incident, stating, “there was an incident at ONEOK’s Medford natural gas liquids fractionation facility … All ONEOK personnel are accounted for, and we are unaware of any injuries at this time. We are cooperating with local emergency responders and appreciate their quick response. Our focus continues working with emergency responders to extinguish the fire and the safety of the surrounding community and our employees.”
NGL products are fed through pipelines through Texas, all the way through to the Gulf Coast where a major export hub is in Mont Beliveau, and exports include ethane, propane, butane and natural gas – important for all sectors of the US economy.
There is currently no word as to whether the pipelines themselves were subjected to damage or the amount of disruptions that occurred but soaring temperatures in the Lone Star State are set to experience record demand by households and businesses.
The Texas power grid is powered by half using natural gas products.
Another explosion was reported on Thursday, which took place in a rural area southwest of Houston, according to a report from OilPrice.com.
Local authorities said that the fire was extinguished within two hours, after an explosion happened on a transmission line.
According to Chad Norvell, Constable of the Fort Bend County, no injuries were reported and there were no reports of any damage to any structures and in an emailed statement to Reuters, the pipelines operator – Energy Transfer – said “Our control center immediately shut in the line and the area was secured.”
Investigations have already begun, according to a statement made by The Railroad Commission of Texas spokesman Andrew Keese who spoke to Reuters.