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: City starts safety improvements at Maple Ridge camp

Following on recent decision in Supreme Court

Measles case confirmed within Fraser Health region

One case within Fraser Health is related to the outbreak in three Vancouver schools.

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows business women to pitch their products to the stars at this years Oscars

One will attend the Luxury Gifting Suites in Hollywood while the other will help stack the swag bags

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

VIDEO: Giants earn 40th victory in a 4-0 triumph over Victoria

G-Men move within a point of clinching the B.C. division banner at Friday’s at-home game in Langley

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Man sentenced to 7 years for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards in Sumas

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Most Read