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Pipeline explodes in southeastern New Mexico oil patch

LOVING, N.M. — A pipeline exploded in southeastern New Mexico’s oil patch, closing two highways but causing no reported injuries.

Eddy County Emergency Manager Jennifer Armendariz says the pipeline that exploded early Wednesday morning is in a sparsely populated area about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Carlsbad believed to be used for natural gas.

Armendariz says four energy companies have operations in the area and that authorities are working to identify the pipeline involved so it can be shut down.

The explosion occurred near the junction of U.S. 285 and State Route 31 and closed both highways.

County officials initially advised nearby residents to evacuate but later advised those in a 2-mile (3-kilometer) radius of the junction to shelter in place while authorities work to stabilize the situation.