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UBC, BCIT issue alerts about natural gas shortages following pipeline explosion
11 October 2018, 10:18 | Justin Tyler
Canada's Enbridge Inc said on Wednesday it had approval to restart operations on a 30-inch natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia, after a fire in an adjacent line led to disruptions for refineries in the USA state of Washington.
The explosion involved an Enbridge natural gas pipeline, according to RCMP, and the gas supply has been shut down.
While the flames have been put out the two major gas pipelines remain out of service and Enbridge says it isn't sure when they will be back up and running.
It damaged the company's primary natural gas pipeline linking the Fort Nelson area to Vancouver and south to another 750,000 customers in the northwest United States.
Currently, the price of gas at most stations in Prince George is $130.9 a litre.
Police said the gas line has since been shut down.
"At this time we can not speculate about how long it will take to resolve the situation", Enbridge spokesman Michael Barnes said in an emailed statement.
As many as 700,000 customers in northern B.C., the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island could be directly affected by a shortage, he said. "As a precaution, an adjacent natural gas pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge has also been depressurized".
"But it may be at least one to two weeks. I just made a decision to get out".
"We can actually use oil for probably the next 24 hours or so and continue to run our operations, but after that things become more complex", said Harmac president Levi Sampson.
Doug Stout, vice-president of external relations for the utility, is urging customers to use natural gas sparingly for the time being.
"FortisBC is asking BCIT to urgently limit natural gas usage", read the message from the school.
Earlier this evening, UBC warned campus residents that the university's geographic position means it could be among the first locations affected by a gas shortage - possibly as early as this evening. Combined, they supply 85 per cent of all natural gas used province-wide.
A pipeline explosion has been confirmed to be the reason for a large fire outside of Prince George.
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