Saturday, July 4, 2009

Natural Gas Blast in B.C.

Associated Press, 07.02.09, 02:59 PM EDT

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- A gas leak at a natural gas facility in northeastern British Columbia appears to have been caused by a pipeline bombing, a spokeswoman for EnCana said Thursday.

EnCana's Rhona DelFrari said the site of the gas leak was close to the area of four other bombings targeting the company's pipelines since October."Based on the previous incidents that have happened, we've called in the (police)," said DelFrari. "The vandalism or the damage that was done to this well indicates that it may have been something that exploded there to cause the leak."

The explosion took place near Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and DelFrari said the leak is relatively minor. The nearest residence is more than three kilometers (1.8 miles) away from the site. Royal Canadian Mounted Police and EnCana staff have secured and contained the area.

"Nobody has been injured (in any of the bombings) but we never know what could happen if this continues in the future," said DelFrari.

More than 200 investigators, spanning B.C., Alberta, central and eastern Canada and the U.S., have been investigating the four former bombings at EnCana pipelines. No charges have been laid.
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The blasts put a spotlight on local concerns over the rapid growth of the industry in the western Canadian region, particularly projects involving sour gas, which contains the potentially deadly chemical hydrogen sulfide.

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said investigators are still trying to determine whether the most recent leak is related to the four earlier bombings.

In January, a metering was damaged by a blast, only 250 meters (820 feet) away from the nearest residence.

The first three explosions last October involved pipelines or wellheads carrying sour gas.

Police hit a dead end in their investigation after identifying and ruling out eight people spotted on video surveillance in a store with a postal outlet on the same day a threatening letter was mailed.

The letter was sent to local media and EnCana, calling oil and gas companies, and EnCana in particular, "terrorists" and demanding the company stop natural gas operations in northeastern B.C.

Police believe whoever is behind the attacks is from the local area and has a grievance with EnCana.

British Columbia has more than 4,000 producing oil and gas wells, all in the northeastern part of the province, and the industry has expanded in recent years.

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