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article imagePipeline explosion leaves parts of B.C. with natural gas shortage

By Karen Graham     Oct 28, 2018 in World
Vancouver - British Columbia may experience natural gas shortages for months and well into the winter, and such shortages could grow if colder weather takes hold before repairs are complete on the pipeline that exploded on October 5.
Following the pipeline explosion near Prince George earlier this month, liquid natural gas users from greenhouses to mills and local governments are hustling to conserve and find alternative fuel sources.
FortisBC, one of the province's largest utilities says the LNG supply will be reduced by 50 to 80 percent during the coldest months of the year. This means LNG users in British Columbia and the state of Washington will need to cut consumption of natural gas until the repairs are completed.
The explosion damaged two main pipelines operated by Enbridge that bring LNG into the FortisBC distribution system. Almost 100 people had to be evacuated from the area as a precaution.
More than two-thirds of FortisBC's customer base, numbering nearly 700,000, may be facing a temporary lack of access to LNG because of the explosion. According to FortisBC, as much as 85 percent of its LNG it supplies to customers is shipped via the two pipelines damaged in the explosion.
Enbridge's 30-inch pipeline was returned to service one day after the incident, although at a reduced capacity. However, the 36-inch pipeline that ruptured in the explosion will take weeks and even months to repair. FortisBC is asking its customers “to conserve natural gas wherever possible and to avoid non-essential uses of natural gas.”
“Typically, if it starts to get colder and people need to keep some heat on, then we'll go back to curtailing or reducing volumes to industrial customers on the system, which is what we do first,” FortisBC vice-president Doug Stout told CBC News.
Michele Harradence, senior vice-president of Enbridge’s gas transmission operations, told CBC that the company hopes to measure repair works “in weeks rather than months, but we really won’t know for a few more days.”
"We do have gas flowing to all of our customers, including the industrials although at a limited usage," FortisBC spokesman Sean Berdow said, reports CTV News Canada. "When it comes down to it though, as factors dictate and if we have issues of supply, there's a number of different levers we can pull."
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