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B.C. Forced To Extend Fuel Rationing As Pipeline Shutdown Continues

Authorities in British Columbia extended a fuel rationing regime until December 14 as the Trans Mountain pipeline remains shut down, Canadian media report.

The pipeline shut down earlier this month amid massive floods in British Columbia. Work on the pipeline expansion was suspended because of rainstorms, which prompted the evacuation of thousands of people amid heavy rains, flooding, and the danger of landslides.

“Based on current conditions and the amount of progress we have been able to make in the face of continued challenges with weather and access, we are still days away from restarting the pipeline at a reduced capacity,” the operator of the infrastructure said in an update on Monday. Trans Mountain added that work on the restart of the pipeline was interrupted at several sites on Sunday because of the weather.

The 300,000-bpd pipeline is a vital piece of oil infrastructure, shipping crude oil from Alberta west and to U.S. refiners. It is the only pipeline that carries oil from Alberta to the West Coast and has become the subject of a fierce debate between the oil province and British Columbia because of the expansion plans that would significantly increase its capacity.

The extended shutdown will put an additional burden on B.C. drivers in terms of fuel supply, Global News reported, citing oil analyst Dan McTeague from Canadians for Affordable Energy as saying that “Best-case scenario, we’re not going to see anything until the first, second week of December and possibly into Christmas before everything gets back into what we consider normal.”

“Once restarted, delivery of oil and refined products currently in the line will continue as they progress to their delivery points at either Kamloops, Sumas, or Burnaby,” Trans Mountain also said in its update. “After initial start-up, a sustained effort will continue to return the system to its full capacity as soon as possible.”

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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