Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Pipeline explodes near Prince George, B.C.: RCMP

Pipeline explodes near Prince George, B.C.: RCMP

The University of British Columbia - which has a campus at the end of a natural gas pipeline - has asked non-essential users to immediately stop using natural gas.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Approximately 70% of FortisBC's one million customers across the province have the potential to lose gas supply as a result of a ruptured natural gas line north of Prince George October 9.

Gas prices across Greater Victoria have jumped following a pipeline explosion in B.C. that has affected refineries. Our analysts are monitoring.

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Enbridge describes the 2,900-kilometre pipe as the "backbone" of the industry, carrying 60 per cent of B.C.'s total supply and about 50 per cent of the gas consumed in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. But with oil refineries potentially laboring to produce gasoline at their usual rate, gas prices in the same region are likely to skyrocket. "Motorists are urged to only buy what fuel they need to limit the scope of the price increases", he said. Witnesses say they can not see smoke or flames anymore.

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

Hopefully not. Doug Stout, vice-president of external relations with FortisBC, said there was a risk that 700,000 customers in the Lower Mainland would run out when both pipelines were down, but that risk is lower now that the smaller pipeline is back on.

"They had told me there was a gas building up in the underground".

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The rupture happened on a natural gas transmission pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge about 13.5 kilometres from Prince George, Enbridge spokesman Michael Barnes said in an emailed statement.

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

He said they have asked kitchens, which often leave gas running, to shut it down when it's not needed, watch overheating and ensuring water temperature isn't too high.

'Enbridge has teams on the ground in the area and has mobilized additional response crews to maintain ongoing safety, ensure the needs of area residents are being met, and support the investigation [into the cause of the explosion]'.

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Yes. Stout said Fortis' industrial customers in B.C. are now under restrictions.

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