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Energy & Science

A 67-Foot Pipeline Rupture in Texas Triggered Massive Methane Plume

Photos from Railroad Commission of Texas show a blowout on Big Cowboy pipeline.

A pipeline rupture longer than a bowling lane was responsible for a massive release of the potent greenhouse gas methane over Texas in March, spewing the equivalent of annual emissions from 16,000 American cars into the atmosphere.

Photos of the rupture show a nearly 67-foot (20-meter) long tear along the 16-inch diameter Big Cowboy natural gas pipeline excavated from a dirt road in a remote corner of Texas. The images were obtained through a public information request to the Railroad Commission of Texas, the regulator that oversees oil and gas production in the state. The pipeline operator, a unit of Energy Transfer LP, has said in regulatory filings that the rupture resulted in a release of 52.15 million cubic feet of gas.