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B.C. Faces Gas Shortage As Winter Approaches

gas pipeline

A natural gas pipeline explosion that occurred earlier this month near the city of Prince George will reduce supply to British Columbia by between 20 and 50 percent this winter, the gas distribution company said in a statement.

FortisBC said that although it had planned on having the ruptured pipe up and running by mid-November, it will not be able to fill it to capacity. At best, it would operate at 80 percent of capacity for the winter.

To compensate, FortisBC said it was in talks with TransCanada to increase the flow along the Southern Crossing pipeline from Alberta. At the same time, the company said, it was working with industrial gas consumers to optimize their consumption. In its update, the company appealed to household consumers to also try and optimize their consumption of the fuel during peak demand season.

The Enbridge-operated pipeline that exploded in early October is what FortisBC uses to transport as much as 85 percent of the natural gas it supplies to customers in British Columbia. The blast led to the evacuation of 100 people and forced the residents of British Columbia and the state of Washington to cut their gas consumption. At the time, FortisBC announced as many as 700,000 customers faced a temporary lack of access to natural gas because of the explosion. That’s more than two-thirds of the company’s customer base.

Now that the inconvenience for gas consumers is set for a considerable extension, chances are that the anti-pipeline sentiment in the province, which became notorious for its opposition to the Trans Mountain expansion project, will deepen as the necessary cutbacks highlight consumers’ dependence on the pipeline network.

Yet at the same time B.C. has just become the proud home of Canada’s first-ever LNG production and export project, LNG Canada, which received its final investment decision earlier this month.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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