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

Cristina Cross
October 11, 2018

One of two pipelines has been turned back on after a natural gas explosion damaged the other and saw homes evacuated on Tuesday, but British Columbians are still being asked to conserve gas as a possible shortage looms.

But by turning off the pipelines, the energy company said there could be a disruption in gas supply to customers in the Pacific Northwest region.

The spike could last one to two weeks, but it depends on how long the pipeline is out of service.

'Enbridge has teams on the ground in the area and has mobilized additional response crews to maintain ongoing safety, ensure the needs of area residents are being met, and support the investigation [into the cause of the explosion]'. A few gas stations in the Capital Region bumped prices almost 15 cents per litre to 153.9.

A natural gas line disruption in northern BC means that some UBC buildings may be without heating, hot water or fuel for cooking appliances.

Enbridge spokesman Michael Barnes said in a statement the explosion is the result of a rupture on a 91-centimetre section of the pipeline, causing natural gas being transported to be ignited.

As many as 700,000 B.C. customers could be affected. A crude oil pipeline in the vicinity of the blast has also been shut down. "So we are asking everybody to chip in", said Stout.

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

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

Researchers who use natural gas for projects and academic work were asked to cut off all usage.

More than 30 buildings of the Vancouver campus may be affected.

Restaurants around the province, on the other hand, are looking at ways of using less natural gas.

British Columbia's Ministry of Environment said the incident involved a 900 PSI natural gas pipeline operated by Enbridge.

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