Pipeline Explosion Causes Gas Shortage In British Colombia

Prince George fire

A large fire can be seen near Prince George B.C. on Oct. 9 2018

In the wake of Tuesday's rupture and fire along the Enbridge pipeline near Prince George, natural gas provide FortisBC is asking customers provincewide to reduce their usage Wednesday (Oct. 10).

GasBuddy.com's Dan McTeague issued an alert Wednesday saying the Enbridge natural gas pipeline explosion has affected refineries in Washington state.

The incident was reported at about 5:30PM on Tuesday by the Prince George RCMP and forced the temporary evacuation of residents living along the Shelley Reserve.

While the ruptured pipeline carries natural gas, chances are that anti-pipeline activists will waste no time in using the incident in their case against pipeline.

As gas prices are expected to skyrocket across the Lower Mainland due to a pipeline explosion near Prince George, prices at the pumps in Kamloops are expected to drop. "Turn down your thermostats and avoid using non-essential use of natural gas until the situation is fully resolved".

Although the gasoline you pump into your vehicle is different than the natural gas in the pipelines, the natural gas is used to power oil refineries.

Enbridge said it received NEB approval late Wednesday to restart its 76-centimetre line, which was shut down as a precaution because it is in the same path as the pipeline that exploded and burned.

"I would expect that into the weekend we could see a lot of prices here in the Thompson and the Okanagan moving down below $1.30 a litre", McTeague says.

Meanwhile, pulp mills on Vancouver Island, which collectively employ 1,200 people, are facing the prospect of significant curtailments if the natural gas supply is compromised.

"That is a question that we not only need to ask the company, but also the regulators, and the province, because this sort of emergency preparedness goes in two directions", says Antweiler.

Restaurants around the province, on the other hand, are looking at ways of using less natural gas.

"We don't know what caused this explosion yet but once we do know, no doubt there will be some lessons to be learned and we will be implementing those as regulators".

A larger, 36-inch line that ruptured Tuesday remains out of service with no timeframe for fix, which is limiting the supply of natural gas in the north, southwestern B.C., and Vancouver Island.

The University of Victoria said Fortis B.C. has requested that it restrict its use of natural gas.

The company will update its customers as soon as it is in a position to offer something new, said Stout.

FortisBC is receiving a reduced gas flow - approximately 40 per cent of its normal capacity - while Enbridge makes repairs to its system.

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