Canadian gas pipeline damage disrupts supply in the Pacific Northwest

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One local expert says these problems following the Enbridge pipeline explosion in Prince George show we need to build a more resilient natural gas system, which would include the construction of storage facilities locally.

Enbridge, the Calgary, Alberta-based company which operates the pipeline, says the pipeline supplies about half the natural gas used in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

A gas pipeline blast on Tuesday, northeast of Prince George, shut down the Enbridge natural gas pipeline about 600 miles northeast of Vancouver and could cut off flow to Washington State.

"Now that the 30-inch line has been deemed fit for service, our restart plan is to gradually bring the line's pressure up to approximately 80 per cent of normal operating capacity", Enbridge said in a statement.

According to FortisBC, this affects the pipeline that supplies natural gas which FortisBC distributes to customers across Greater Vancouver, the lower Fraser Valley, Prince George, Quesnel and William's Lake. "Minimize the use of hot water if you have a natural gas hot water tank ... so we preserve the gas we have for as long as possible", said Stout. "Until this is complete, we ask our customers to please continue avoiding non-essential use of gas until the situation is completely resolved".

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McTeague said gas prices on Vancouver Island will likely remain inflated for a week or two until the damaged pipeline is repaired.

On Thursday, Stout said the Lower Mainland could see a four- to eight-cent jump in gas prices over the weekend.

Restaurants around the province, on the other hand, are looking at ways of using less natural gas.

"About 70 per cent of customers could be impacted here", said Douglas Stout, vice-president of external relations with FortisBC.

Here's what we know about what that means for you.

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Located on West 57th Avenue near Cambie Street, Langara Gardens is one of 200 large industrial customers that have been forced to shut off their natural gas.

He said the blast left a crater and a burn area of about 400 metres.

The agency will work closely with the Transportation Safety Board, which is responsible for investigating the incident, he said. The refineries are largely fuelled by natural gas from the B.C. pipeline.

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