Pipeline ruptures, sparks massive fire north of Prince George, B.C.

Prince George fire

FortisBC warns all of its consumers to limit their natural gas usage following an explosion on the Enbridge gas pipeline near Prince George yesterday at approximately 5:45 p.m.

The Westcoast Transmission System transports natural gas produced in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to consumers in B.C. and, through interconnecting pipelines, other Canadian provinces and the United States.

GasBuddy claims that the duration of the price spike will depend on how long the Enbridge pipeline remains out of service, but it could be felt for the next week or two.

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.

In Greater Victoria on Wednesday afternoon, the price for regular unleaded at many stations rose to $1.539 a litre from $1.399.

A natural gas line disruption in northern BC means that some UBC buildings may be without heating, hot water or fuel for cooking appliances.

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. A crude oil pipeline in the vicinity of the blast has also been shut down.

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"But it may be at least one to two weeks".

FortisBC has backup supplies of natural gas in the form of liquefied natural gas at its Tilbury Island terminal. "So we are asking everybody to chip in", said Stout.

British Columbia's Ministry of Environment said it had been notified of the incident Shelley, B.C., and involved an 900 PSI pipeline.

"Fortis BC, the local gas utility, is asking all customers, including UBC, to curtail non-essential use of natural gas", read a statement from UBC.

More than 30 buildings of the Vancouver campus may be affected. While the ruptured pipeline carries natural gas, chances are that anti-pipeline activists will waste no time in using the incident in their case against pipeline.

A pipeline explosion has been confirmed to be the reason for a large fire outside of Prince George.

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