The primary natural gas pipeline damaged in the explosion links the Fort Nelson area to Vancouver. There are another 750,000 customers in the northwest United States.
FortisBC is receiving a reduced gas flow — approximately 40 per cent of its normal capacity — while Enbridge makes repairs to its system.
The smaller of the two lines has been restarted at a lower pressure, but analysts say that still leaves between 600 million and 800 million cubic feet per day of gas without an easy path to market.
Hopefully not. Doug Stout, vice-president of external relations with FortisBC, said there was a risk that 700,000 customers in the Lower Mainland would run out when both pipelines were down, but that risk is lower now that the smaller pipeline is back on.
Service will now begin to be restored to about 128 customers in Salmon Valley who lost their gas after the line was shut down after the blast. Those customers will have to wait for a Fortis BC representative to come to their home or business to turn gas back on at the meter and relight all affected appliances.
Blast not criminal, RCMP says
"Without supplies, for a period of time, then it is a question of having to turn customers' supplies off," he said.
FortisBC depends on the Enbridge line for about 85 per cent of the gas it delivers to its one million customers.
Yes. Stout said Fortis' industrial customers in B.C. are under restrictions, though some have begun to be brought back onto the system with reduced amounts of natural gas.
Some stations on Vancouver Island, which is in danger of a natural gas shortage because of the explosion, bumped prices nearly 15 cents on Wednesday, to 153.9 cents per litre.
The University of the Fraser Valley and the British Columbia Institute of Technology have either lowered or stopped heating buildings on their main campuses until further notice to conserve resources.
RCMP deem pipeline explosion not criminal in nature
The University of British Columbia — which has a campus at the end of a natural gas pipeline — has asked non-essential users to immediately stop using natural gas.
Around 700,000 British Columbians could lose gas supply after pipeline explosion near Prince George | Oil & Gas
Oil refineries use natural gas, so a shortage could drive up prices. On Thursday, Stout said the Lower Mainland could see a four- to eight-cent jump in gas prices over the weekend.
The National Energy Board (NEB) is working on a return-to-service plan once the line is fixed. Indigenous communities and landowners will need to be consulted.
The Transportation Safety Board is still investigating, with support from Enbridge and the NEB. The RCMP has determined the explosion wasn't criminal in nature.
Iain Colquhoun, the NEB's chief engineer, said a cause should be determined within "days."
Analysts say about 10 per cent of Western Canada's daily natural gas output was stranded when Enbridge Inc. halted transport on the 36-inch line that exploded Tuesday near Prince George as well as its neighbouring 30-inch line.
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Customers asked to limit use of natural gas | Cranbrook, East Kootenay
“After reviewing known information by all stakeholders, there are no indications that the explosion was criminal in nature,” said RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson in a statement.
National Energy Board chief engineer Iain Colquhoun explained his organization's role is to make sure Enbridge is handling the situation properly, as well as ensuring no other pipelines in the area are at risk. The board has already determined that a nearby 30-inch pipeline — which was shut down Tuesday as a precaution — is safe. It has allowed gas to flow through it once again.
Enbridge to resume operations on 30-inch B.C. natural gas pipeline after fire in adjacent line
“The investigation has now been turned over to Transportation Safety Board, with assistance from National Energy Board and Enbridge.”
Gas shortage after pipeline explosion reveals need for storage facilities: expert
In the wake of the pipeline explosion, which interrupted natural gas deliveries, FortisBC asked customers to cut back on non-essential gas usage.
Doug Stout, FortisBC’s vice-president of market development and external relations, said customers listened.
Analysts say about 10 per cent of Western Canada’s daily natural gas output was stranded when Enbridge Inc. halted transport on the 36-inch line that exploded Tuesday as well as its neighbouring 30-inch line.
Enbridge says it has received National Energy Board approval Wednesday night to restart its 76-centimetre line, which was shut down as a precaution because it is in the same path as the 91-centimetre line that ruptured and exploded near Prince George.
#BREAKING: @BCRCMP conclude Tuesdays @Enbridge natural gas pipeline explosion near #PrinceGeorge was not criminal in nature. This case has now been handed over to @TSBCanada—which will be the working with @NEBCanada and @Enbridge to determine a cause. pic.twitter.com/c0Up5Z74Zk
As to when the pipeline will be fully up and running, Stout said there is “repair work to do so we’ll see over the next week or so (and) get an idea of the timeline as they work through that.”
“Our top priority is to ensure public and officer safety,” says Inspector Shaun Wright, Operations Officer of Prince George RCMP in a news release. “Our investigators, along with Forensic Identification Services, have maintained security of the scene from the beginning and immediately engaged the assistance of our North District Major Crime Unit. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries or damages to properties in the vicinity.”