Two workers were killed in a fire at a major oil pipeline from Canada on Wednesday, November 28, which then sent oil prices soaring. The workers were trying to fix the underground pipeline when the flames escaped igniting the fire. Residents from the area had to be evacuated from the area because of the thick smoke. The fire burned until the next morning
Apparently the pipe had leaked a few weeks ago and was being repaired. “It appears as though one of those fittings may have failed and caused fumes to leak, and it caught fire,” said Kristine Chapin, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. She stated that there was not an explosion, but the fire was very big.
The crude is used to make several kinds of fuel, such as gasoline and home heating oil. An average of 1.5 million barrels of oil passes through the pipeline every day. The U.S. consumes 20.58 million barrels of oil a day.
The pipeline that leaked and three others were shut down. Two of the lines were re-started Thursday morning and another line will be inspected to see if it is safe to come back online, but the line with the leak will likely be out for some time.
Light, sweet crude oil for delivery in January rose from $3.47 to $94.09 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midday in Europe. It jumped up to $4.55 to $95.17 in the electronic session before slipping back.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Workplace Injuries.