No estimate on when damaged pipeline will be back in service

Natural gas is flowing through one of the two pipelines shut down Tuesday due to an explosion near Shelley. However, Enbridge says it doesn’t not have an estimate of when natural gas will begin flowing through the 36-inch line.

“As this work is ongoing, we do not yet have a time estimate on the investigation process, nor a timetable on repairing and returning the 36-inch line to service,” the company said in a statement on its website yesterday afternoon.

Enbridge says it will replace the segment of the 36-inch line that was damaged by the explosion.

There are two Enbridge-owned and operated natural gas transmission pipelines that are part of the B.C. pipeline system – a line that is 30 inches in diameter and a second line that is 36 inches in diameter. Both lines were shut down and depressurized following rupture and explosion on the 36-inch line, which ignited approximately 13.5 km north of Prince George.

The 30-inch line, which runs parallel to the impacted line, underwent an integrity assessment that evaluated a number of potential impacts, including the condition of the pipe, geotechnical and ground disturbance, and other potential integrity issues. Following this rigorous assessment, the line was deemed fit for service.

Enbridge received an order from the National Energy Board (NEB) in the evening of Oct. 10 to restart the 30-inch line. Following the NEB order, Enbridge initiated our restart plan to safely and gradually bring the line’s pressure up to approximately 80% of normal operating capacity. Natural gas is now safely flowing to our customers through the single line.

A one-kilometre security zone around the site of the incident was established immediately following the incident. Unauthorized individuals are not permitted in this security zone, which will be in place indefinitely to ensure public safety and the integrity of the investigation.

Bringing 30-inch line back on is a positive step to returning the FortisBC system back to normal; however, until the damaged 36-inch gas line is repaired, gas supply will continue to be constrained throughout the province, according to an alert on the FortisBC website.

Some of FortisBC’s industrial customers have had their natural gas service curtailed. On Thursday, October 11, some industrial customers began being brought back onto the system with a reduced amount of natural gas. This process will continue through the weekend and includes large, multi-family high-rises. FortisBC is contacting those customers, and their gas marketers, as the curtailment of their natural gas service is lifted.

 

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