Enbridge Inc said on Sunday it has started work on a temporary access road to the site of a natural gas pipeline fire last week in northern British Columbia, which disrupted refinery operations in the U.S. state of Washington.
“We expect this activity will take a few days to complete. This work is necessary to mobilize construction crews and equipment to the site, which will be used to repair the 36-inch pipeline,” it said in a statement.
The company, however, said it could not say when the damaged pipeline would be repaired.
Enbridge, Canada’s largest pipeline operator, isolated and depressurized a 36-inch pipeline, which carries gas to the Pacific Northwest, after it ruptured on Oct. 9 causing gas to ignite. An adjacent 30-inch pipeline was also depressurized for safety.
The 30-inch pipeline resumed operations last week after Canadian regulator, National Energy Board (NEB), approved its restart.
On Saturday, Enbridge said it will not return the remainder of the southern portion of its British Columbia pipeline system to normal operating pressure until it is satisfied that it is safe to do so.
The rupture occurred near the city of Prince George in British Columbia’s northeast. About 100 people were evacuated from their homes in a nearby Aboriginal community as a precautionary measure. There were no injuries.
The incident forced various refineries in Washington to shut or curb operations as supplies of natural gas were disrupted, which led to a surge in fuel prices in the Pacific Northwest region and across the West Coast.