VANCOUVER — For the sixth time in nine months, and the second time in three days, a bomb has exploded near EnCana’s natural gas pipeline in northeastern British Columbia.
The blast early Saturday morning took place less than a kilometre from where EnCana workers were trying to cap a gas well damaged in an explosion Thursday.
“Our crews were at the wellhead site, where they were working to stop the gas leak,” EnCana spokeswoman Rhona DelFrari said from Calgary.
“Around 2:30 in the morning they heard a loud bang, so they immediately went to the spot where they thought it was and that’s where they discovered the explosion at the pipeline.”
The Mounties are labelling the bombings as domestic terrorism and have flown in a unit of its Integrated National Security Enforcement Team to investigate.
RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said the EnCana crew, as well as a nearby resident, reported the explosion.
The blast caused a brief leak of potentially toxic sour gas but the pipeline’s control system sensed the drop in pressure and triggered emergency shutdown valves to isolate that portion of the line. It’s not clear whether the EnCana repair crew was downwind of the leak but Moskaluk said no one was hurt. Some nearby residents evacuated their homes when they heard the blast, said DelFrari, but it was unnecessary.
The small amount of leaked sour gas dissipated instantly, she said, and tests of the air showed no signs of hydrogen sulphide, which can kill in small quantities.