Energy giant Enbridge has reactivated the smaller of its two natural gas lines following an explosion near Prince George earlier this week, but customers are being asked to continue to conserve gas.
The company’s 30-inch line shares the same right of way as its larger 36-inch line. That larger line was the site of a massive explosion on Tuesday night, the cause of which remains undetermined.
“As of today, the good news is Enbridge has successfully restored flow to the 30-inch line at a pressurization rate of 80%, but the other line will be out of service for an unknown period of time,” said Energy Minister Michelle Mungall in a statement.
“For now, natural gas is flowing in the 30-inch line but below normal capacity.”
Mungall said it will be “some time” before the larger line can be repaired, and that natural gas company FortisBC is still asking consumers to cut back on their energy usage.
“On Thursday, October 11, some industrial customers began being brought back onto the system with a reduced amount of natural gas,” said FortisBC spokesperson Doug Stout in a statement.
“This process will continue through the weekend and includes large, multi-family high-rises.”
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Stout said the current gas flow is about 40 per cent of normal.
About 85 per cent of the gas FortisBC feeds to its one million B.C. customers is carried by the twinned Enbridge pipeline that runs from northern B.C. to the United States border south of Vancouver, according to FortisBC.
About 750,000 natural gas customers in the northwest U.S. were also impacted by the explosion.
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On Thursday, the RCMP confirmed that Tuesday’s explosion was not believed to be criminal in nature.
In a statement Friday, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said investigators will collect and examine the wreckage from the explosion, as teams work to figure out what caused the blast in the underground line.
They will also examine the pipeline’s operating history and inspection record, the agency said.
According to the Nation Energy Board, the line was last inspected last year.
— With files from The Canadian Press