UBC, BCIT issue alerts about natural gas shortages following pipeline explosion

The incident is ongoing in the community of Shelley northeast of Prince George

A pipeline explosion and rupture near Prince George will cause fuel prices to spike across the Pacific Northwest in the coming week, according to a gas price analyst.

The Westcoast Transmission System transports natural gas produced in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to consumers in B.C. and, through interconnecting pipelines, other Canadian provinces and the United States.

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.

Drivers are urged to buy only the fuel they need to limit the scope of the price increases.

The UBC bulletin says although gas use should still be restricted, "UBC buildings that use natural gas for heating, hot water and cooking are no longer expected to be impacted".

Enbridge spokesperson Michael Barnes says a full investigation into what caused the rupture is underway and the company is working with nearby communities to maintain public safety. You could hear it start dropping.

"We ask all students, staff, and faculty please anticipate chilly mornings and evenings and to dress warmly - including gloves, hats, and coats where necessary".

A parallel 30-inch line was also shut down to assess potential damage.

"So turn down your thermostat as low as possible, restrict the use of hot water from your natural gas hot water tank, minimize the use of cooktops and turn off your fireplaces", said Doug Stout, Vice-President of Market and Development and External Relations with FortisBC.

More than 30 buildings of the Vancouver campus may be affected.

"It's really grown in the last four years or so", he said, noting Fortis has told him they have connected more homes in Victoria in the last year to natural gas than in any other year.

"Enbridge emergency crews did respond and they have isolated and are finishing the pressurizing of the two natural gas lines in the vicinity to contain this incident and an area was cordoned off". That's more than two-thirds of the company's customer base.

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