Enbridge Gas Line Explodes in Canada

Monday, October 15, 2018 @ 06:10 PM gHale

A large fireball was seen rising into the sky from Shelley, B.C., after a natural gas line exploded.

Gas and electricity provider FortisBC asked British Columbia, Canada, residents to turn down their thermostats and reduce natural gas use on other appliances following Tuesday’s Enbridge gas line explosion near Prince George.

Puget Sound Energy, a U.S. energy company, is 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.

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The Enbridge natural gas pipeline that exploded Tuesday evening is a feeder for the province-wide gas distribution system and, because of this, FortisBC said it anticipates decreased energy flow and potential loss of service.

“About 70 percent of customers could be impacted here,” said Douglas Stout, vice president of external relations with FortisBC.

The company serves just over a million customers across the province, from the Lower Mainland to Northern B.C.

“Anybody who consumes natural gas, we’re asking you to cut back to as little as possible and help us work through this situation to everybody’s benefit,” Stout said.

“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.”

The pipeline is part of the T-South system, stretching over 1,000 kilometers from Chetwynd, B.C., to the U.S. border, which is why it impacts gas distribution across the province and into Washington.

Two Enbridge pipelines are being shut off: the ruptured pipe and another one that’s to be assessed for damage. Combined, they supply 85 percent of all natural gas used province-wide.

Some gas is still being brought in from Alberta across the southern Interior.

The line ruptured on Lheidli T’enneh reserve land and witnesses who saw the explosion described it as an incandescent orange fireball that could be seen for miles.

No one was injured but roughly 100 people fled their homes, including Chief Dominic Frederick.

He wants answers but says he doesn’t expect his nation’s relationship with the company to change as a result.

“We’re not going to move away because of one explosion,” Frederick said.

“We’ve lived there for most of our lives, since the pipelines were built, and we never had any concerns with the pipeline until now.”

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.

“A cause will be determined following an investigation of this event,” said Barnes.

“Safety is always our top focus and top priority.”

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

“We don’t know what caused this explosion yet but once we do know, no doubt there will be some lessons to be learned and we will be implementing those as regulators.”

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