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

Victoria teen killed on field trip near Sooke

Second youth also injured in falling tree incident at Camp Barnard

Oak Bay double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst says no shoe prints found in unit

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

Man accused of Brentwood Bay murder appears in court

Alan Chapman tells judge he wants next court appearance to be “as far away as possible”

Scorpion gives birth at Victoria Bug Zoo after hitching ride in woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read