Flooded BC Extends Fuel Rationing Ahead of Storm

Oil & Gas

British Columbia extended a state of emergency and fuel rationing until mid-December as the western Canadian province braces for more heavy rain following some of its worst floods on record.

Parts of British Columbia are still struggling with damage from floods and landslides that closed highways and railways two weeks ago, sharply reducing the flow of goods like grain and lumber to Canada’s biggest port in Vancouver. While some roads and tracks have reopened sporadically, the damage has largely cut off the country’s Pacific Coast from the rest of the country. Some people are still under evacuation orders. 

On Monday, the provincial government extended an order that limits non-essential gasoline and diesel purchases to 30 liters (7.9 gallons) in some areas until Dec. 14, from a previous end-date of Dec. 1. 

The extension of the order aims to ensure that vehicles providing essential services will not run out of fuel after Trans Mountain, the sole oil pipeline that runs from Alberta to the Canadian Pacific, was shut due to storms. The province has received fuel supplies by sea from the U.S. and via rail from neighboring Alberta, Bruce Ralston, British Columbia’s mines and energy minister, told reporters Monday afternoon.

“This has provided a supply of fuel that would usually come from the Trans Mountain Pipeline while the company works toward restarting the line,” Ralston said. “We know that a large weather system is expected to hit in the days ahead. What we don’t know is what impact that will have on our railways, our roads and the pipeline infrastructure in the province.”

Port of Vancouver said that the two main railways that transport cargo to and from the coast have again closed their tracks due to rainfall concerns. 

A large portion of British Colombia’s coastal areas are on flood watch and warnings with forecasts of up to 200 mm (7.9 inches) of rain in some places through Wednesday.

“It will be problematic because they are coming so close, back-to-back with the run-off and saturated soil,” Armel Castellan, a meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada told reporters.

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