June 23rd, 2024

Reduction in volumes forces Fort Nelson, B.C. natural gas plant to suspend operations

By The Canadian Press on June 5, 2024.

An extreme fire warning sign is shown along Highway 97 toward Fort Nelson outside the Charlie Lake Fire Hall near Fort St. John, B.C., on Monday, May 13, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jesse Boily

FORT NELSON – A company that operates a natural gas plant in Fort Nelson, B.C., is suspending operations because of a reduction in gas volumes, which also reduces the city’s access to electrical and gas services.

The processing plant owned by NorthRiver Midstream has been shut since wildfires threatened the community last month, but now the company says it won’t resume production because it hasn’t been able to find a stable supply of gas in the region.

A statement from NorthRiver says the company has “no future certainty” on sustained production in the area, and producers have given notice that they do not intend to resume production that was shut by wildfires.

A wildfire in May forced the evacuation of 4,700 people from Fort Nelson for more than two weeks, and while residents have been able to return home, two large fires continue to burn near the community.

The company says it had been working with natural gas producers for over a year to try to find long-term ways to ensure a stable supply and maintain operations.

It says it employs 42 unionized and six non-union workers, with additional jobs through the upstream gas production and the supply chain that serves the industry.

“NorthRiver remains committed to continuing to work with area producers, the province of B.C. and other stakeholders on solutions that would allow for gas processing to resume in due course,” it says in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2024.

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