Weekend Pipeline Crash Could Affect Oil Prices

Company officials from Enbridge said the line may not be up and running until Wednesday night or Thursday morning

By Anthony Ponce
|  Monday, Mar 5, 2012  |  Updated 7:36 AM CDT
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New Lenox Crash Could Affect Oil Prices

NBCChicago.com

Just before 3 a.m. Saturday two cars apparently were driving side by side in an unincorporated area near New Lenox when they went through a chain link fence and crashed into a crude oil pipeline.

A fiery crash that killed two men over the weekend in the southwest suburbs forced the closure of a major pipeline and could affect the price of crude oil.

The crash happened just before 3 a.m. Saturday in an unincorporated area near New Lenox. Police said two cars apparently were driving side by side when they went through a chain link fence and crashed into a crude oil pipeline.

The collision set the cars and the pipeline on fire, killing two men, including a firefighter, and seriously injuring three others.

Canadian-based Enbridge Energy Company's pipeline carries 318,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Superior, Wis., to Mokena, Ill. The line was shut down since Saturday and company officials said the line may not be up and running until Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

It happens as concerns over supply already are driving up the price of crude oil.

Early last week the price per barrel jumped to $106.99. By Thursday the number jumped to $110.55 per barrel after reports of a pipeline explosion in Saudi Arabia. The price settled at $106.70 after Saudi officials denied those reports.

Meanwhile New Lenox continues to mourn the loss of Zack Orel, 25, a firefighter paramedic with the Posen Fire Department.

New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann said the town offers its condolences, thoughts and prayers to all the families.

"New Lenox is a very close knit community," Baldermann said, "and with these five young men coming from our town, there are several people of course who are going to be impacted."

The investigation of the crash continues. As of Sunday, police didn't release details to even family members.

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