Massive pipeline explosion in BC risks Washington natural gas shortage

11 October, 2018, 07:57 | Author: Myra Gill
  • 11:24am
Updated

"FortisBC is requesting all of our natural gas customers across the province to turn off their thermostats as well as reduce use of all other natural gas appliances".

Mr. Seymour, who spent Tuesday night in a Prince George hotel with his family, said he has been told it is safe for him to return home, but he was unsure after a community meeting with Enbridge about what to do.

No one was hurt when the fireball lit up the sky near the community of Shelley, British Columbia and forced about 100 members of the nearby Lheidli T'enneh First Nation from their homes.

The damaged Enbridge pipeline connects to the Northwest Pipeline system, which feeds Puget Sound Energy in Washington State and Northwest Natural Gas in Portland.

Doug Stout, Fortis B.C. vice-president of external relations, said Wednesday that 85 per cent of the gas his company feeds to homes and businesses is carried by the twinned pipeline that runs from northern B.C.to the US border south of Vancouver.

Stout urged another 300,000 customers in the Okanagan and southeastern British Columbia., to conserve even though their natural gas comes from Alberta. He also said people north of the Lheidli T'enneh reserve have been evacuated.

A pipeline explosion has been confirmed to be the reason for a large fire outside of Prince George.

"I could feel the heat through the windows", he said.


The rupture happened on a natural gas transmission pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge about 13.5 kilometres from Prince George, Enbridge spokesman Michael Barnes said in an emailed statement.

An evacuation order had been downgraded Wednesday to the handful of homes near the explosion site.

Washington State-based Puget Sound Energy is urging its 750,000 customers to lower their thermostats and limit hot water use at least through Wednesday.

A memo circulated from UVic's facilities management division noted the university has already switched its central heating system to diesel from natural gas, and has suggested staff and students bring warmer clothes to work and class.

"A cause will be determined following an investigation of the incident", Barnes said.

"We have agreed as an industry to get people to conserve in the event of a shortage", said Ian Tostenson, chief executive of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

Police said the gas line has since been shut down.

Meanwhile, Fortis BC told NEWS 1130 that none of its pipelines had been damaged in the fire but that they will continue to monitor the situation.

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