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

UPDATE: Barge continues to smolder near Silverdale

After 12 hours, Mission firefighters stop their efforts, hand situation over to the province

UFV students raise money to keep ‘nicest’ person in Abbotsford

Foreign student struggles to pay for schooling after Trump withdrawal from Iran deal

$8,700 worth of contraband discovered at Mission Institution

Staff at the medium security unit found the package on Dec. 9

Girl, 6, lured from elementary school, sexually assaulted: Vancouver police

Police are seeking dashcam footage from nearby Sexsmith Elementary School in South Vancouver

Fraser Valley’s lost lake was at centre of local life for centuries: new book

Sumas Lake was major resource hub for locals before newcomers drained it in early 1900s

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

Warning issued as forecast calls for 20-foot waves in Tofino

Dangerous waves, strong currents and upper-shoreline flooding expected for Tofino-Ucluelet area

An 800-pound pig named Theodore needs a forever home, B.C. society says

‘Theodore is not destined to be somebody’s bacon’

2,000 Canadians died of an overdose in first 6 months of the year

New data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows the crisis is not subsiding

Teenager Alphonso Davies wins Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award

Derek Cornelius and Chilliwack native, Jordyn Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

B.C. teen MMA fighter shows heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home Ws

Torched-SUV victim ‘had the purest heart,’ says sister

Family of teen found in burned SUV in Surrey appeals for justice

Another B.C. city votes to ban single-use plastic bags

First six months of proposed ban would focus on education, not enforcement

Most Read