Natural gas pipeline ruptured in Campbell County

A natural gas pipeline that went into service in January is temporarily shut-down after a Wednesday evening explosion in Campbell County, according to local officials who were contacted by the owner of the pipeline, TransCanada. No word yet about the cause of the rupture. Officials say there were no injuries related to the incident.

The 30-inch diameter Bison pipeline has a capacity to carry 477 million cubic feet of gas per day — enough to serve 4,770 homes for one year. It primarily moves coal-bed methane gas from the Powder River Basin  in northeast Wyoming through Montana and North Dakota to the Midwest market.

Brian Jeffries, executive director of the Wyoming Pipeline Authority, told WyoFile that the temporary shut-down of Bison shouldn’t snarl the flow of natural gas for more than a day or two while gas is rerouted through other pipelines.

“Until Bison goes back into service, that gas gets rerouted to other pipeline systems that already serve the basin,” said Jeffries.

TransCanada is facing pressure over its proposed Keystone XL “mega” pipeline that would carry oil from Canadian tar sands to the United States and cross under the Yellowstone River in Montana. Opposition to that project intensified after ExxonMobile’s Silvertip crude oil pipeline ruptured and spilled into the Yellowstone River.

Campbell County emergency management coordinator David King said TransCanada conducted safety and response training courses with local emergency responders last year before the Bison pipeline was put into service. King traveled to the location of the rupture on Wednesday evening approximately 18.5 miles northwest of Gillette and 1 mile away from a farm house. He said there didn’t appear to be any property damage, other than the pipeline itself, and there were no people nearby at the time of the incident.

“By my estimation, it was probably a 50-foot section or so that blew up and out,” said King.

— Contact Dustin Bleizeffer at 307-577-6069 or

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Dustin Bleizeffer is a Report for America Corps member covering energy and climate at WyoFile. He has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 25 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily...

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