Some nat­u­ral gas flow­ing again to in­dus­trial cus­tomers

Pipe­line re­pairs con­tinue af­ter this week’s fiery blast near Prince Ge­orge

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION -

V A NCOU­VER The long process of restor­ing nat­u­ral gas ser­vice to in­dus­trial cus­tomers in Bri­tish Columbia is un­der­way af­ter an ex­plo­sion ear­lier this week near Prince Ge­orge that shut down two pipe­lines.

A state­ment posted on the web­site of For­tisBC, the util­ity that dis­trib­utes gas to about one mil­lion B.C. homes and busi­nesses, says work to bring in­dus­trial cus­tomers back on­line be­gan Thurs­day night and will con­tinue, on a grad­ual ba­sis, through the week­end.

Spe­cific busi­nesses or lo­ca­tions aren’t men­tioned but For­tis says they in­clude large, multi-fam­ily high­rises.

The util­ity says it’s get­ting about 40 per cent of its usual nat­u­ral gas ca­pac­ity from En­bridge af­ter the Cal­gary-based com­pany was forced to shut off its 91-cen­time­tre pipe­line fol­low­ing Tues­day’s fiery rup­ture and blast.

A 76-cen­time­tre pipe­line near the dam­aged line was also shut down as a pre­cau­tion but was restarted late Wednesday to give For­tis some sup­ply, al­though all cus­tomers are still be­ing urged to avoid non-es­sen­tial use of nat­u­ral gas.

The two pipe­lines af­fected by the ex­plo­sion carry 85 per cent of the fuel For­tisBC de­pends upon.

Sev­eral ma­jor in­dus­tries and in­sti­tu­tions re­sponded by switch­ing en­ergy sources, re­duc­ing op­er­a­tions or shut­ting down tem­po­rar­ily.

Tolko In­dus­tries Ltd. closed its Kam­loops-area ply­wood plant and re­duced op­er­a­tions at sawmills near Ques­nel and Wil­liams Lake.

The B.C. In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy re­duced heat to a por­tion of the class­rooms on its Burn­aby cam­pus while the Univer­sity of B.C. ad­vised re­searchers and other non-es­sen­tial users to im­me­di­ately stop us­ing nat­u­ral gas.

The univer­sity said Thurs­day that its build­ings are no longer af­fected by re­duced gas sup­plies.

The Trans­porta­tion Safety Board is lead­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the cause of the ex­plo­sion, sup­ported by teams of in­ves­ti­ga­tors from En­bridge and the Na­tional En­ergy Board.

The RCMP has said there is no in­di­ca­tion the pipe­line rup­ture and en­su­ing fire­ball in­volved crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.

DHRUV DE­SAI/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

A pipe­line rup­tured and sparked a mas­sive fire north of Prince Ge­orge, B.C. ear­lier this week. For­tisBC says it is grad­u­ally bring­ing cus­tomers back on­line through the week­end.

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