FortisBC says work to restore gas service will continue into weekend

FortisBC says work to restore gas service will continue into weekend
Prince George pipeline explosion not criminal in nature: RCMP
British Columbians are being asked to avoid any "non-essential" use of natural gas after one of Enbridge's pipelines exploded and caught fire northeast of Prince George on Tuesday.

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.

"Turn down your thermostat if you are in a cold spot. Turn off your furnace if you can, if you are in Vancouver or a situation where you can do that. Minimize the use of hot water if you have a natural gas hot water tank … so we preserve the gas we have for as long as possible," said Stout.

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.

Fortis says “while bringing the natural gas back on is a positive step,  the gas supply will continue to be constrained until the 36 inch line is repaired.”

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. 

"The duration of the price impact will depend on the length of time that the pipeline is out of service, but it may be at least one to two weeks," he told CTV.

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.

This week's natural gas pipeline explosion near Prince George could lead to a spike in gasoline prices, according to GasBuddy.com analyst Dan McTeague.

​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. 

“After reviewing known information by all stakeholders, there are no indications that the explosion was criminal in nature,” RCMP said Thursday.

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.

It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges.

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.

So far, little is known about what caused the incident except that there was a rupture on a 36-inch natural gas transmission line owned by Enbridge. The line is part of a system that transports natural gas from northeastern B.C. south to the Lower Mainland and some customers in the United States.

Doug Stout, FortisBC’s vice-president of market development and external relations, said customers listened.

In response to the call for conservation, the B.C. Institute of Technology has tweeted that heat is off on the north side of its Burnaby campus until further notice, while the University of B.C. has told researchers and other non-essential users to immediately stop using natural gas.

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

Fortis BC, the company that depends on the Enbridge line for about 85 per cent of the gas it delivers to its one million customers, says in an online notice that gas is now flowing, but customers are still asked to cut back.

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.”