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Manitoba, Upper Midwest Supply Emergency Ends

Last weekend's natural gas supply emergency that gripped parts of the Canadian province Manitoba, as well as Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, was coming to an end Tuesday as TransCanada Pipeline crews continued working to repair sections of a Mainline lateral that were damaged by an explosion Saturday.

Utility Xcel Energy had lifted all conservation appeals by midday Tuesday as the company's system returned to normal operations. The appeal for customers in western Wisconsin was lifted at noon, while customers in Minnesota and eastern North Dakota began dialing up thermostats late Tuesday morning. The company lifted the appeals at intervals to help control demand and ensure safe operations, it said.

At about 12:15 a.m. MST on Saturday, TransCanada experienced a fire on its Canadian Mainline on the Emerson lateral, south of Winnipeg, MB, which resulted in isolation of the affected pipeline and the shut-in of two nearby lines (see Daily GPI, Jan. 27).

Minnesota Energy Resources, another utility that saw supplies cut, was beginning to lift restrictions on Monday afternoon. However, it had curtailed gas service to its commercial and industrial, interruptible customers, and said interruptions could continue while temperatures remained unseasonably low.

"The first phase of the restoration of regular natural gas service has been completed, and natural gas began flowing into Manitoba Hydro’s distribution system and to customers in the communities of Ste. Agathe, Niverville, New Bothwell, Kleefeld, Otterburne and Marchand [in Manitoba] at approximately 3 a.m. CST [Tuesday]," TransCanada said in an update Tuesday morning. "

TransCanada said Tuesday afternoon that regular service was restored to Manitoba Hydro's distribution network serving the remaining south-central Manitoba communities of St. Malo, St. Pierre-Jolys, Grunthal and Dufrost at approximately 11 a.m. CST.

The pipeline said an investigation into the cause of the rupture and explosion continues.

Residents of Niverville were told on their community's website that "Manitoba Hydro with approximately 200 staff on standby, will be blitzing the community going door to door throughout [Monday night to ensure services have been properly restored. You may expect a knock on the door at any time throughout the night. Manitoba Hydro."

On Monday afternoon, Viking Gas Transmission Co. had lifted the operational flow order (OFO) it had issued on Saturday after the TransCanada incident cut gas supplies to its system. "Viking requested that balancing parties begin reinstatement of normal activity," it said in a customer notice.

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