Canadian Manufacturing

SaskEnergy still investigating 2014 fire at natural gas storage facility

SaskEnergy is trying to determine if the facility can be repaired or if it will need to be retired

SASKATOON—SaskEnergy is looking at a piece of steel to see if it played a role in a nine-day fire and gas release at the Prud’homme natural gas storage facility east of Saskatoon.

The original wellhead was tested during the initial investigation, and it was found not to have played a role in the gas release that forced 15 people from their home last October.

Their attention has turned to a bent piece of steel pipe 3.5 metres into the steel well casing, the pipe that links the surface to the cavern where natural gas is stored.

Dave Burdeniuk with SaskEnergy says their first step is to remove the natural gas stored inside the cavern by running water through the pipe.

Burdeniuk says they will remotely cut out the steel pipe and take it back to the lab for analysis.

SaskEnergy will then determine if the cavern can be repaired or if it will need to be retired.

Days after the gas release was sealed in mid-October last year, Burdeniuk expected the damages would cost as much as $10 million.

The finally tally is actually $11 million, plus a $500,000 deductible for insurance to cover the loss of natural gas.

Burdeniuk says with 25 other caverns across the province to store natural gas and more storage in pipelines, they won’t have any issues with storing natural gas for this winter.

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