PRINCE GEORGE - Operations from here to California are feeling the pinch of the Enbridge pipeline explosion. In the Lower Mainland, they are sounding the alarm over an anticipated spike in gas prices, perhaps as high as $161.9/litre.
That's because the pipeline supplied three of four refineries in Washington State.
"Most refineries run on natural gas" explains Dan McTeague with gas buddy.com. "They use that to process oil and make higher value-added goods. Things like diesel, gasoline and even chemicals in plastics."
Those Washington State refineries, in turn, supply the Lower Mainland with gasoline, jet fuel and diesel.
"That means that Lower Mainland, Vancouver, Vancouver Island, the state of Oregon, Washington and perhaps even California are affected by this. Thankfully, in Prince George and pretty much Central Interior BC, most of the price signals and supply, if it isn't coming from the Husky refinery, it's coming from Edmonton. So, Prince George is not affected by this and, indeed, prices will continue to actually drop dramatically in the rest of BC over the next 24 to 48 hours."
However, there is one local company that relies on that pipeline. Canfor.
"We were given an immediate order to go to zero-gas," explains Martin Pudlas, Vice President of Operation for Canfor Pulp. "One of our pulp mills, at Intercon, we were able to use alternative fuel sources that we make internally to keep our process running. So we were able to keep one of our three mills running and the other two went into a shutdown."
But then the pulp company came up with Plan B.
"So we have a tanker full of LNG. It's about minus 200 degrees Fahrenheit and a vapourizor unit," says Peter Lovell, General Manager for PG Pulp and Intercon. "And we've plumbed into our gas line and we're running the pulp mill now on LNG on a temporary source while we wait for our regular supply of natural gas to come back."
He says each tanker truck can keep the mill operating for five to six hours.
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