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Gas shortage after pipeline explosion reveals need for storage facilities: expert

(Source: iStock)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130 – Colleges going without heat, gas prices going up, and pulp mills having to run on alternative fuel: all because of an issue with one pipeline.

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.

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If we’re seeing a disruption on this level as a result of one pipeline problem, what would happen during a major natural disaster?

“I was a little bit surprised to the extent that we didn’t have the resilience to cope with something like this,” says professor Werner Antweiler with the Sauder School of Business.

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He is calling for the creation of local storage facilities.

“I am of course much aware that we’re living in an earthquake prone zone, where disruptions could occur, for not only the reason of accidents, but also for disasters that occur naturally, like earthquakes,” he says. “We need to be prepared, and we need to have a resilient infrastructure.”

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While there may not be a business case for building them locally, Antweiler believes governments and companies need to view this as a form of insurance.

“That is a question that we not only need to ask the company, but also the regulators, and the province, because this sort of emergency preparedness goes in two directions,” says Antweiler. “One is dealing with incidents, and the other one is being prepared for these disruptions that would allow us to deal for longer periods with a lack of supply.”

Antweiler points to the $200-million storage facilities Fortis BC completed in 2011 on Vancouver Island as an example of what can be done.