No timeline for repair of exploded gas pipeline near Prince George: Enbridge

Concern for B.C. community impacted by pipeline blast
WATCH ABOVE: Concern for B.C. community impacted by pipeline blast.

Energy giant Enbridge says it has been cleared to begin cleaning up the site of a natural gas pipeline explosion near Prince George, but says there’s no timeline for repair.

The larger of a pair of twin gas pipelines that connect northern B.C.’s gas fields to southern B.C. and the U.S. northwest ruptured on Tuesday, causing a massive explosion.

The cause of that explosion remains unknown.

READ MORE: Gas back on after Prince George pipeline explosion, but only flowing at 40%

“The Transportation Safety Board (TSB), which is leading the investigation, has opened the area for Enbridge to begin site safety work and begin planning for site clean-up,” said the company in a media release.

“Planning regarding repair work is underway; however, we have no timelines on when that will commence.”

WATCH: ‘It’s raining down ash’: Gas pipeline explodes north of Prince George, B.C.

‘It’s raining down ash’: Gas pipeline explodes north of Prince George, B.C.
‘It’s raining down ash’: Gas pipeline explodes north of Prince George, B.C.

The company said that in the wake of the explosion it had reduced pressure throughout the southern part of its system, and that it will not return it to full pressure until it is safe to do so.

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“No incident is acceptable to Enbridge,” it said.

READ MORE: B.C. slashes natural gas usage amid concerns of shortage after pipeline blast

“We recognize this incident has had a significant impact on the communities where we operate and we are working with those communities to make sure their needs are being met.”

The explosion forced the temporary evacuation of about 100 people from the T’enneh First Nation, and sparked fears of a gas shortage across B.C.

WATCH: Coverage of Prince George natural gas pipeline explosion on

On Friday, Enbridge reactivated its 30-inch line, the smaller of the twin pipes, bringing it into service at 80 per cent capacity.

FortisBC, which supplies natural gas to about one million B.C. customers, said Friday that supply is now running at about 40 per cent of normal.

The company is still urging conservation efforts, particularly among larger industrial and commercial customers including mines, mills and universities.

READ MORE: Prince George pipeline explosion not ‘criminal in nature’: RCMP

On Thursday, the RCMP confirmed that it does not believe the Tuesday’s explosion was criminal in nature.

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The TSB will now collect and examine wreckage from the explosion to attempt to determine how it happened.

It said it will also examine the pipeline’s operating history and inspection record.

The line was last inspected in 2017, according to the National Energy Board.

— With files from The Canadian Press