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Enbridge allowed to restart mainline near Prince George at reduced operating pressure

Enbridge's 36-inch Loop will remain out of service for the time being
Enbridge has received permission and guidelines from the National Energy Board regarding pipeline restarts. (via @Carter9Marty/Twitter)

The National Energy Board (NEB) issued an Inspection Officer Order to Enbridge Wednesday (Oct. 10), telling the company to reduce operating pressure on its 30-inch mainline natural gas pipeline on an "interim basis". 

The 30-inch natural gas mainline was shut down when sweet gas was released and a fire broke out on Enbridge's 36-inch Loop Tuesday (Oct. 9). The 30-inch mainline runs parallel to the 36-inch Loop.

The NEB has given Enbridge permission to restart the mainline (with reduced operating pressure). At a later date, the company can apply to resume operation at the licensed pressure of the pipeline. 

"The 36-inch Loop natural gas pipeline, which was damaged during the sweet gas release and fire, will only be permitted to resume operation when the NEB is satisfied that Enbridge has demonstrated that it can be operated safely," a press release says. "At that time, the company will also be required to operate the pipeline at a reduced pressure in compliance with the conditions of the Inspection Officer Order."


The NEB will continue to monitor and oversee the company's response to the natural gas release as well as the fire. 

The emergency operation centre in Calgary will also remain open, with six NEB staff deployed to the site near Prince George. They will remain on site to verify all required actions are being taken to protect workers, the public and the environment. 

In another press release, Enbridge says they began the process of returning the 30-inch line to service upon the NEB's decision. 

"Enbridge received NEB approval tonight to restart its 30-inch line — which is located in the same right of way as the impacted 36-inch line — and began a multi-hour process to return the line to service," the release states. "This restart approval follows a comprehensive integrity assessment that evaluated a number of potential impacts. Enbridge looked for evidence of damage to the pipe, geotechnical and ground disturbance, and other potential integrity issues on the 30-inch line."

With this restart, Enbridge says the plan is to gradually bring the mainline’s pressure up to approximately 80 per cent of normal operating capacity.

More information will be released as it becomes available.



Jess Fedigan

About the Author: Jess Fedigan

Jess Fedigan graduated from BCIT’s Broadcast and Online Journalism program in 2016 and comes from the Lower Mainland.
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