Norman Wells' natural gas at risk of running out

2011-5-10

The Town of Norman Wells has called a state of emergency with supplies of natural gas running out.

Imperial Oil shut down the Enbridge pipeline that transports oil to the South after the Rainbow pipeline in northern Alberta ruptured April 29th, spewing 4.5 million litres of oil into the ground.

Cutting off the line means the production of natural gas has also come to a stand-still and Norman Wells Mayor Dudley Johnson said there may only be enough in their tanks until Friday.

"Once the gas goes there's no heat, nothing for cooking, no hot water."

Johnson said they're working on another way to provide heat and cooking capabilities to the town's homes.

"We're looking at getting in an aerator system, which is similar to what we use when Imperial Oil shuts down for five-year maintenance, so that we can put propane through our natural gas system."

The problem, Johnson said, is finding an aircraft that can transport the aerator machinery into the community.

The mayor added it is unclear when the Rainbow Pipeline in Alberta will be turned back on, but it could be another three weeks to a month.

Plains Midstream must pass regulatory review to re-start the Rainbow pipeline in northern Alberta.

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