Most residents near Prince George, B.C. are being allowed back into their homes after Tuesday’s gas pipeline rupture. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

B.C. pipeline blast risks Washington natural gas shortage

The blast Tuesday evening shut down the Enbridge natural gas pipeline about 600 miles northeast of Vancouver.

A massive pipeline explosion in British Columbia risks cutting off the flow of Canadian natural gas to Washington State, and companies are urging customers to conserve.

The blast Tuesday evening shut down the Enbridge natural gas pipeline about 600 miles northeast of Vancouver.

Doug Stout of Fortis BC said Wednesday that 85 per cent of the gas his company feeds to homes and businesses is carried by the twinned pipeline that runs from northern British Columbia to the United States border south of Vancouver.

“There is a potential impact on Seattle and north of Seattle,” Stout said.

The damaged Enbridge pipeline connects to the Northwest Pipeline system, which feeds Puget Sound Energy in Washington State and Northwest Natural Gas in Portland.

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.

No one was hurt when the fireball lit up the sky near the community of Shelley, British Columbia and forced about 100 members of the nearby Lheidli T’enneh First Nation from their homes.

Witness Terry Teegee said the blast shook the area at about 5:30 p.m.

“We thought it might have been a train crash or a low-flying jet,” he said.

Related: FortisBC warns pipeline explosion could lead to dip in natural gas supply

Related: VIDEO: Pipeline explosion causes evacuations near Prince George

Zachary Semotiuk said he saw a “huge flash,” followed by a “raging fire,” that was easily visible above the tree line from several kilometres away.

Chief Dominic Frederick with the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation said Enbridge contacted him shortly after the blast.

“They had told me there was gas building up in the underground. For some reason or another the gas had stopped flowing and it built up and it just exploded,” Frederick said.

As many as 700,000 customers in northern British Columbia, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island could be directly affected by a shortage, Stout said.

Stout urged another 300,000 customers in the Okanagan and southeastern British Columbia., to conserve even though their natural gas comes from Alberta.

Currently Fortis has reserves still in the pipeline south of Prince George, in its liquefied natural gas storage tanks in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, and there is some gas flowing from Alberta through a pipeline in southern B.C., Stout said.

Fortis expected to receive updates on the situation as Transportation Safety Board investigators and National Energy Board inspectors arrived to assess the damage and attempt to determine a cause.

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

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chilliwack Chiefs lose Kevin Wall to suspension

The team’s leading scorer was tagged with his second major of the season Sunday and sits four games.

Man charged with attempted murder in Chilliwack River Valley deemed mentally unfit

Father says son has schizophrenia; Law professor say too many with mental illness in jail

Four chances to see Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra’s Messiah in the Valley

Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra brings Handels’ Messiah to Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Aldergrove

United churches come together to share warmth in Chilliwack

Members of Rosedale, Chilliwack and Mt. Shannon united churches donate 100 care packages to homeless

Lots of laughs at Bozzini’s holiday concert in Chilliwack

Double bill performance features rock n’ roll duo Kitty & the Rooster, cabaret musician Shirley Gnome

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

B.C.’s skyrocketing real estate market will ‘correct’ in 2019: analyst

Housing prices in Vancouver are set to rise just 0.6 per cent

Climate change, receding glaciers increase landslide risk on B.C.’s Mount Meager

Climate change is causing glaciers atop Mount Meager, in British Columbia, to shrink increasing the chances of landslides and even a new eruption, says one expert.

UK’s May lobbies EU leaders in fight to save Brexit deal

Top European Union officials ruled out Tuesday any renegotiation of the divorce agreement with Britain.

Former Canadian diplomat detained in China amid rising tensions: reports

A former Canadian diplomat has been arrested in China, according to media reports and the international think tank he works for.

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla, Highway 3

Environment Canada says up to 25 cm expected by Monday night

In depth: Simple falls causing serious injuries to people over 65

Kelowna’s high population of seniors puts it in the spotlight for how it deals with seniors’ issues

Time magazine’s 2018 person of the year

The group is made up of four journalists and are the “guardians and the war on truth”

Trump to meet with Democrats about border wall, shutdown

US president wants $5 billion for border wall, while Democrats offer up about $1.3 billion for fencing and other security measures

Most Read