Fiery pipeline explosion in B.C. raises possibility of natural gas shortage

Prince George fire

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 B.C.to the United States border south of Vancouver.

"Enbridge emergency crews have responded, have isolated and are now depressurizing two natural gas transmission lines in the vicinity to contain the incident", he said.

As many as 700,000 FortisBC customers could lose their natural gas supply because of the shortage, and gas prices are expected to rise.

"Turn down your thermostat if you are in a cold spot".

"Enbridge emergency crews did respond and they have isolated and are finishing the pressurizing of the two natural gas lines in the vicinity to contain this incident and an area was cordoned off".

Enbridge spokesperson Michael Barnes says a full investigation into what caused the rupture is underway and the company is working with nearby communities to maintain public safety.

Terry Teegee, Assembly of First Nations regional chief, said he's still shaken by what he witnessed outside his home on the Lhedli T'enneh First Nation reserve near the site of the explosion.

"We're not going to move away because of one explosion", Frederick said.

In a statement, Fortis B.C. said it is anticipating decreased energy flow and potential loss of service as a result.

By Tuesday night, however, the evacuation zone had been reduced to a kilometre and residents were able to return home.

Two Enbridge pipelines are being shut off: the ruptured pipe and another one that's to be assessed for damage.

Washington State-based Puget Sound Energy is urging its 750,000 customers to lower their thermostats and limit hot water use at least through Wednesday.

A pipeline has ruptured and sparked a massive fire north of Prince George.

The National Energy Board has sent inspectors to the scene and the Oil and Gas Commission is also investigating.

"As I started driving down my street I saw more flames and more flames, and they were getting higher and higher".

The company will update its customers as soon as it is in a position to offer something new, said Stout.

The province's Ministry of Environment later confirmed the incident involved a 900 PSI gas line operated by Enbridge. Drivers across the Pacific Northwest should expect to see a hike in gas prices, McTeague said.

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

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