B.C. pipeline explosion strands natural gas output, cuts into wellhead prices

In an earlier news release, Enbridge said it is working with other companies to find alternate supplies of gas to meet demand.

More than 700,000 FortisBC customers have already been asked to limit their natural gas use, and are warned that their service could be cut at any moment as a result of the blast.

While FortisBC's system is not damaged, they are contending with an overall energy flow issue stemming from Tuesday's incident.

"Effective immediately, you are being curtailed to zero", FortisBC said a letter to the management for Langara Gardens Wednesday, leaving more than 1,000 residents in the complex's 605 units with no way of heating their homes.

The National Energy Board allowed Enbridge to restart the smaller line at a lower pressure, but analysts say that still leaves between 600 million and 800 million cubic feet per day of gas without an easy path to market.

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. About 100 people were evacuated from their homes in a nearby Aboriginal community on Tuesday as a precautionary measure. "Fortunately, there were no reported injuries or damages to properties in the vicinity".

"That is a question that we not only need to ask the company, but also the regulators, and the province, because this sort of emergency preparedness goes in two directions", says Antweiler.

"So far, we're OK-the weather being so nice", Dennis Hougham, another resident, said. Teegee said he saw a 60-metre fireball in the near distance and the impact showered him with dirt. More than 3 million customers in Canada and the U.S. have been impacted.

"Enbridge emergency crews have responded, have isolated and are now depressurizing two natural gas transmission lines in the vicinity to contain the incident", he said.

"A cause will be determined following an investigation of this event", said Barnes.

  • David Armstrong