One person died at the scene and five others were transported to hospitals for treatment.
One person died at the scene and five others were transported to hospitals for treatment.

Largest US Fuel Pipeline Shut

Largest US Fuel Pipeline Shut

The biggest fuel pipeline in the US shut its mainlines on Monday after an explosion and fire in Alabama that killed at least one person.

Colonial Pipeline Company, which carries refined products to New York Harbor from Houston, shut the lines for the second time in two months, Bloomberg reported.

A contract crew working miles from the site of a Sept. 9 spill ran into the pipeline with an excavator, igniting gasoline and causing a fire, Colonial said in a statement. One person died at the scene and five others were transported to Birmingham-area hospitals for treatment.

A spill in September shut the line for 12 days, cutting supplies to 50 million Americans in the southeast.

The pipelines remained shut and fire continued to burn as of 10:45 p.m. Monday local time, Colonial said in the statement.

The southeastern US is “highly dependent on pipeline supplies from Colonial and, ultimately, Colonial flows from the baseline of US East Coast supply”, Robert Campbell, head of oil products research at Energy Aspects Ltd. in New York, said.

The explosion and fire come, as the US oil industry faces a backlash from environmentalists opposed to building new pipelines, including the controversial $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Last year, US President Barack Obama's administration rejected the Keystone XL project. In early October, climate change activists disrupted oil flows by turning off valves in several remote pumping stations.

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Colonial, owned by a group that includes Koch Capital Investments Co. and a unit of Royal Dutch Shell, had to shut its 1.3 million-barrel-a-day gasoline line after a 7,370-barrel leak was discovered on Sept. 9.

Now both the gasoline mainline and the mainline that transports diesel and jet fuel are shut.


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