Pressure restriction on Trans-Northern pipeline causes gas shortage in Ontario
Some Ontario gas stations are running out of fuel over the Thanksgiving long-weekend due to a pressure restriction on the Trans-Northern pipeline.
The Trans-Northern pipeline transports about 173,000 bbl/day of refined product from Nanticoke, Ontario into Hamilton, Oakville, Toronto, Ottawa and the Montreal area, including fuel supply to major airports in the area. The pipeline is operated by Trans-Northern Pipelines Inc. (TNPI).
The National Energy Board (NEB) had previously issued three Safety Orders on sections of piping in response to incidents that occurred in 2009 and 2010. The order directed TNPI to restrict the operating pressure but the NEB says TNPI has yet to satisfy all conditions spelled out in the original Safety Orders. As a result, the company is being asked to reduce pressure by another 10% and undertake a number of corrective measures related to the system's hydraulics and overpressure protection.
Adding to the fuel shortages on the East Coast is Hurricane Matthew, which disrupted imports from overseas, the recent shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which brings fuel from Gulf Coast refineries up to New Jersey and maintenance turnarounds at two large refineries in the US Midwest. Gasoline shortages in the US also spiked gas prices in the Canadian Prairies last weekend.
A spokesperson for TNPI says the company is complying with the NEB's order but can't yet confirm when the system will return to normal operation.