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Enbridge says it's increasing gas flows to 85 per cent in repaired BC pipeline

Last Updated Nov 17, 2018 at 3:02 pm PST

Enbridge comnay logos on display at the company's annual meeting in Calgary on May 12, 2016. Enbridge Inc. has signed a deal with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to sell 49 per cent of its interests in a group renewable power assets for $1.75 billion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Enbridge Inc. says it has increased the flow of natural gas through a pipeline that ruptured near Prince George, B.C., more than a month ago.

The company says it will increase pressure on a 91-centimetre pipeline to 85 per cent of its normal operating pressure, following an amendment order from the National Energy Board.

That’s up from 80 per cent of normal operating pressure at the time of the Oct. 9 explosion.

The NEB had ordered Calgary-based Enbridge to limit gas flows at 80 per cent pressure levels from the blast site.

The explosion ruptured the 91-centimetre natural gas pipeline, but did not damage an adjacent 76-centimetre pipeline.

The company says it’s conducting safety inspections before restoring gas flows to full operating capacity.

One of the province’s largest utilities, FortisBC, has said natural gas supply will be reduced during the coldest months of the year.

The RCMP has said there is no indication the pipeline rupture and ensuing fireball involved criminal activity.

Harsher winter might still impact supply

On Friday, FortisBC’s Sean Beardow said British Columbians need to cut demand to avoid a province-wide shortage when colder temperature take hold in the coming months.

A shortage is already hitting B.C.’s agricultural sector, which is turning to private brokers to buy enough gas for their operations. Linda Delli Santi with BC’s Greenhouse Growers Association said the price for natural gas gone up ten-fold.

“If we don’t have enough product, then you’ll see less of it and of course, my members will try to recover their input costs in the marketplace,” she said, alluding the price of produce will go up come spring.

with files The Canadian Press