Enbridge restores smaller natural gas pipeline in BC, after main line blast

Cesar Mills
October 11, 2018

The company that shut down its main natural gas pipeline through British Columbia following an explosion and fire Tuesday night says it has restarted a smaller line running beside the damaged pipe.

Royal Dutch Shell had said it was "proactively shutting units down" at its Puget Sound refinery in Washington state due to the incident and Phillips 66 said it was adjusting operations at its Ferndale refinery, also in Washington state. Turn off your furnace if you can. "So we are asking everybody to chip in", said Stout. An adjacent 30-inch pipeline was also depressurized for safety.

"I know the priority is to keep the residents in B.C. being able to use natural gas - it's the industrial users that take the hit when this kind of thing happens and that's completely understandable", said Sampson.

The RCMP has confirmed the explosion involved a pipeline, but have provided few details about what caused the rupture, which remains under investigation.

"This means we have more time to keep gas flowing through the system for essential services", said spokesperson Alex Munro.

In Greater Victoria on Wednesday afternoon, the price for regular unleaded at many stations rose to $1.539 a litre from $1.399.

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FortisBC has backup supplies of natural gas in the form of liquefied natural gas at its Tilbury Island terminal. Combined, they supply 85 per cent of all natural gas used province-wide.

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

"Enbridge emergency crews did respond and they have isolated and are finishing the pressurizing of the two natural gas lines in the vicinity to contain this incident and an area was cordoned off".

"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".

Earlier this evening, UBC warned campus residents that the university's geographic position means it could be among the first locations affected by a gas shortage - possibly as early as this evening.

"Fortis BC, the local gas utility, is asking all customers, including UBC, to curtail non-essential use of natural gas", read a statement from UBC.

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