UPDATE 2-El Paso pipeline ruptures west of Houston

Wed Dec 8, 2010 8:19pm EST

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* Tennessee Gas Pipeline ruptures; no fire

* Crew on-site to shut leak, official said (Confirms size of ruptured line in second graph)

HOUSTON Dec 8 (Reuters) - A Tennessee Gas interstate natural gas pipeline ruptured near East Bernard, Texas, about 50 miles (80 km) west of Houston on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

Robert Newberry, spokesman for El Paso Corp EP.N, which owns Tennessee Gas Pipeline, said crews were on site to close a valve to stop gas leaking from the ruptured 24-inch pipeline.

"There was no fire and no injuries," Newberry said.

Tennessee Gas Pipeline is a major transporter of gas from Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico to Chicago, New York and Boston.

The ruptured line is one of three at a compressor station, Newberry said.

Andy Kirkland, emergency management coordinator for Wharton County, said two nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution.

"It looks like the pipeline just blew out," Kirkland said. "It sounds like they have the leak under control." (Reporting by Erwin Seba, Eileen O'Grady, Kristen Hays and Bruce Nichols; Editing by Dale Hudson, Steve Orlofsky and Bernard Orr)

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