U.S., Canada Pipeline Fire Ignites Oil Prices

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U.S., Canada Pipeline Fire Ignites Oil Prices

CLEARBROOK, Minn. -- A fire at a Enbridge Energy pipeline here that feeds oil from Canada to the United States killed two people and sent crude oil prices soaring to more than $95 a barrel, before burning out yesterday morning, The Associated Press reported.

Fumes apparently escaped the pipeline and ignited the blaze, killing two workers fixing the underground line, Kristine Chapin, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, told the AP.

The fire was reported shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday, and was put out by yesterday morning, according to the Sheriff's Department.

"It looks like it's out now. They're just mopping up and making sure," Blake Olson, a terminal supervisor at the pipeline, told the AP.

The 34-inch pipeline had leaked a few weeks ago and was being repaired, Chapin told the AP. "It appears as though one of those fittings may have failed and caused fumes to leak, and it caught fire," Chapin said, adding there wasn't an explosion and described it as a "big fire."

The leaking pipeline and three others were shut down, according to the company. Two of the lines were re-started yesterday morning, another company spokesman, Larry Springer told the AP. The line with the leak will likely be out for some time, Springer added.

"Nothing is going to be restarted until we're absolutely sure it's safe to be operated," Springer said.

As a result, light, sweet crude for January delivery jumped $4.55 to $95.17 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange before slipping back. Oil prices had fallen $3.80 to $90.62 a barrel on Wednesday, the AP reported.