Enbridge to restart 2nd natural gas pipeline after explosion near Prince George

Enbridge to restart 2nd natural gas pipeline after explosion near Prince George
Prince George Enbridge pipeline explosion: Cause unknown, potential loss of gas supply
The cause of an Enbridge natural gas pipeline explosion in Shelley, B.C., about 15 kilometres northeast of Prince George Tuesday night, remains under investigation.

Speaking on the Jon McComb Show on CKNW Tuesday morning, B.C. Energy Minister Michelle Mungall said the cause of the rupture remains a mystery.

“At this stage, there’s an investigation that is underway and as soon as we know, there will be, no doubt, lessons to be learned,” she said. “We’ll be implementing those lessons but at this stage, we do not know what caused the explosion.”

Prince George RCMP say the explosion happened at about 5:30 p.m. PT and forced the evacuation of about 100 members of the nearby Lheidli T’enneh First Nation from their homes.

PRINCE GEORGE — Motorists beware: gas prices are set to rise across the Pacific Northwest following yesterdays pipeline explosion in Prince George.

READ MORE: Pipeline explosion near Prince George forces about 100 evacuations from First Nation community

Currently, the price of gas at most stations in Prince George is $130.9 a litre. The provincial average is $146.1 a litre.

Pipeline Explosion Investigation Elevated to Provincial Level

“[Those evacuated] were given the option late last night to go back to their homes but many chose to stay in hotel accommodations. As far as I know, they’re still there this morning but they do have the option to go home,” Hall said.

“It will depend on how they feel about going home. We leave that to them whenever we have an evacuation situation.”

Puget Sound Energy and Cascade Natural Gas, both U.S. energy companies, are also asking customers in Washington state to help conserve natural gas and electricity because of B.C.'s pipeline rupture and the impact it has on the U.S. gas supply. 

“We’re anxious to see what the outcome is and what the cause is but no question, it’s resurrected the debate about pipelines and how safe they are,” added Hall.

“There’s a lot of questions in the community and we’re primarily concerned, obviously, about the safety of our residents.”

"Turn your thermostats down as low as possible, obviously that depends on the region you're in what you can do, minimize the use of hot water if you've got a gas water heater, turn off your fireplace." 

“When you have this type of incident, people are reluctant to go back to their homes and I understand that.”

The electricity and gas company FortisBC is asking British Columbians to turn down their thermostats and reduce natural gas use on other appliances following Tuesday's gas line explosion near Prince George. 

UBC issues warning about disruption of natural gas supply

Troy Samkow snapped this photo of the pipeline explosion near Prince George when he was on a charter flight Tuesday evening.

Enbridge officials say they have no definitive timeline on the reparations of that ruptured pipeline, noting their crews are having difficulty accessing the area of the blast due to hot spots, as debate rages over the issue of pipelines, and their safety in this province.

Now that the pipeline is shut down, Fortis is warning about a potential loss of gas supply for its customers.

The BC RCMP is now taking over what will be a lengthy and complicated investigation, due to what officials are calling its potential scope and scale,” if the explosion is ultimately deemed to be a criminal matter—or one involving terrorism.

Fortis says this pipeline provides the supply of natural gas which FortisBC then distributes to its customers in Prince George, Quesnel, Williams Lake, the lower Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver, and Washington State.

But Spraggs said she simply feels fortunate to still have her house intact. The blast, which occurred not far from her house, shook the house’s frame, and Spraggs said she was surprised her windows didnt break.

The company is asking customers to reduce their natural gas use, such as turning down the heat, skipping the shower or maybe holding off on doing laundry.

The investigation into what caused a natural gas transmission pipeline owned and operated by energy giant Enbridge has been elevated from a regional to a provincial level, officials confirmed to Global BC on Wednesday.

Residents Starting To Return Home After Massive Enbridge Pipeline Explosion

FortisBC says it has about one million gas customers, and it’s estimated 70 per cent of customers may lose gas supply because of the pipeline explosion in Prince George.

Well, were anxious to learn the outcome of the investigation, said Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall. But theres no doubt its certainly resurrecting the debate over pipelines and how safe they are.

UBC, BCIT issue alerts about natural gas shortages following pipeline explosion

“So we do have two-thirds of PSE natural gas supply coming from B.C. and Alberta,” said spokesperson Janet Kim. “But we are hoping with conservation efforts … to get through this.”

“NEB inspectors have been deployed to this area. Theyre going to monitor and oversee the companys response to the incident, and theyre going to determine the impact and extent of the fire and release,” Neufeld said.

“Customers can set their thermostats at a lower setting, limit the use of hot water such as that hot shower or washing dishes or clothes and limits the use of natural gas and electric appliances until later tonight.”

The Westcoast Transmission System transports natural gas produced in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to consumers in B.C. and, through interconnecting pipelines, other Canadian provinces and the United States.

In a statement, Enbridge says it is working in coordination with first responders, communities and with the federal, provincial and local governments, and regulators to ensure the safety of area residents near the impacted zone.

Police say residences within several kilometres were evacuated as a precaution, but the evacuation zone has now been reduced to residences within a one kilometre radius of the explosion site.

FortisBC asks customers across province to reduce gas use after pipeline rupture

They confirm an adjacent natural gas pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge has also been depressurized.

“At this time we cannot speculate about how long it will take to resolve the situation,” the company said in a release. “We appreciate everyones patience as we continue to work safely and in a manner that minimizes the interruption of gas supply to communities.”

RCMP say the explosion happened at about 5:30 p.m. PT Tuesday and forced about 100 members of the nearby Lheidli Tenneh First Nation from their homes.

Most residents of a northern B.C. community are being allowed back into their homes after a gas pipeline ruptured, sparking a massive blaze.

On Wednesday night, officials confirmed that the investigation would be handled at a provincial level due to its potential scope and scale, if the explosion is ultimately deemed to be a criminal matter.

RCMP say the explosion happened at about 5:30 p.m. PT Tuesday and forced about 100 members of the nearby Lheidli T'enneh First Nation from their homes.

That line is located in the same right of way as its 36-inch line, which exploded outside of Shelley, B.C., about 15 kilometres northeast of Prince George around 5:30 p.m. PT on Tuesday.

Officials say it was from an Enbridge natural gas pipeline in Shelley, B.C., about 15 kilometres northeast of Prince George.

Energy giant Enbridge has been given the green light to restart one of its natural gas pipelines, a day after an explosion at a separate pipeline near Prince George, it said Wednesday.

Police say residences within several kilometres were evacuated as a precaution, but the evacuation zone has now been reduced to residences within a one kilometre radius of the explosion site.

The gas supply has been shut down and police say there is no indication of a cause at this point in time.

“Enbridge looked for evidence of damage to the pipe, geotechnical and ground disturbance, and other potential integrity issues on the 30-inch line.”

National Energy Board spokesman Tom Neufeld said the fire was along Enbridge's Westcoast main line, which falls under the board's jurisdiction.

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. Motorists are urged to only buy what fuel they need to limit the scope of the price increases, says Gas Buddys Dan McTeague.

The Westcoast Transmission System transports natural gas produced in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to consumers in B.C. and, through interconnecting pipelines, other Canadian provinces and the United States.

GasBuddy.com says gas prices are set to rise across the Pacific Northwest over the coming week as that incident knocked out oil refineries in Washington state that rely on natural gas to power portions of their facilities that produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

"NEB inspectors have been deployed to this area. They're going to monitor and oversee the company's response to the incident, and they're going to determine the impact and extent of the fire and release," Neufeld said.

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — A natural gas pipeline explosion north of Prince George is expected to increase the cost of filling up your gas tank.

The agency will work closely with the Transportation Safety Board, which is responsible for investigating the incident, he said.

Gas prices in Victoria were already on the rise Wednesday following a pipeline explosion near Prince George, with some stations bumping their costs by 15 cents per litre. Oct. 10, 2018. (CTV Vancouver Island)

Prince George RCMP say homes within several kilometres of Tuesday night's pipeline explosion were evacuated. Later in the night, the evacuation zone was reduced to one kilometre and residents were able to return home, CTV reports.

More than 700,000 FortisBC customers have already been asked to limit their natural gas use, and are warned that their service could be cut at any moment as a result of the blast.

About 100 members of a First Nation community were evacuated from their homes Tuesday evening after a gas pipeline ruptured near prince George, sparking a massive blaze.

"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," McTeague said.

The evacuees largely belonged to the nearby Lheidli T'enneh First Nation and were asked to leave their homes as a precaution.

A pipeline explosion and rupture near Prince George will cause fuel prices to spike across the Pacific Northwest in the coming week, according to a gas price analyst.

Prince George resident Dhruv Desai said he was driving up a hill toward the nearby University of Northern British Columbia when he noticed several drivers had pulled off the road, taking photos of something.

The effect was already being felt on Vancouver Island Wednesday. A few gas stations in the Capital Region bumped prices nearly 15 cents per litre to 153.9.

"I was able to see it very clearly from the hill," he said. "It was huge even from this distance."

The University of Victoria says it has switched its central heating system from natural gas to diesel, and that it will also be reducing temperatures. Douglas College said it turned off the heating system at all of its campuses on Wednesday evening, while BCIT says it has turned off the heat on the north side of campus.

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

UBC has warned that occupants and residents of a number of campus buildings could see heating, hot water and cooking gas affected by Oct. 11 “Given UBCs geographic location at the end of the line,” and is asking everyone to cut back on gas usage.

Pipeline blast brings natural gas crunch, pain at the pump

"Enbridge emergency crews have responded, have isolated and are currently depressurizing two natural gas transmission lines in the vicinity to contain the incident," he said. "The incident area has been cordoned off to maintain public safety."

The City of Surrey is also taking steps at public facilities to conserve gas. The city is dropping temperatures in all civic buildings by 1.5 C, and lowering pool temperatures by the same amount.

About 100 people have been evacuated from the nearby Lheidli T'enneh First Nation as a precaution.

“However, we still need more customers to reduce their natural gas usage as much as possible for now, as we continue to work with Enbridge to confirm the impact on the system.”

"It sounded like a jet engine. We thought it might have been a train crash because there are two train tracks on each side of the river, but then we looked out back and it was this massive ball of fire," Regional Chief Terry Teegee of the nearby Takla Lake First Nation told CTV News.

Puget Sound Energy says it gets about two-thirds of its gas from B.C. and Alberta, and is asking its own customers to turn down the thermostat or cut back on electrical appliance usage.

"We were a bit worried when it first happened. We were all outside and wondering what to do."

Enbridge spokesman Michael Barnes says the company is working to assess the situation at a pipeline explosion near Prince George and will have more information shortly.

The provincial Ministry of Environment says it has been notified of the incident and that the 900 PSI gas line is operated by Enbridge.

A pipeline explosion near Prince George happened near the rural community of Shelley, northeast of the city and near the Leidlhi Tenneh Indian Reserve.

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RCMP confirm evacuations are underway following a pipeline explosion near Prince George, CTV reports.

Few details are available, but posts on Twitter say the flames and smoke are billowing thousands of feet into the air.