As gas prices spike, Manitoba’s natural gas supply is in turmoil, forcing some to ration their consumption to avoid soaring prices.

    The Manitoba Energy Alliance says its Natural Gas Supply Network (NGNS) is operating on a tight schedule to meet Manitoba’s needs as gas prices soar.

    “The network is still very active and we’re on schedule to be back to full capacity within six months of our last delivery,” said Lori Van Etten, NGI’s president and CEO.

    “We’re still on track to deliver another 1,300 MWe of capacity and we have the capacity to do more.”NGI has had a lot of customers hit with gas prices.

    Last year, it received nearly $2 million from the provincial government for natural gas to use as a feedstock for its hydroelectric project in St. Albert.

    That project, along with several other projects, are under review by the province’s energy regulator.

    The province is also reviewing NGI and the B.C. Public Service Commission for safety concerns with the pipeline that supplies natural gas.

    Van Etten says she’s not surprised by those concerns.

    “It’s an important infrastructure asset for Manitoba.

    We rely on it in our electricity generation system.

    It’s an asset that is in demand by businesses and industry and that’s why we’re trying to get to the bottom of it.”

    The province has said NGI is under strict rules, including that the company can’t deliver gas to customers more than four months in advance.

    But NGI says its supply is already well ahead of the rules.NGI said the regulator hasn’t been responsive, despite a court order to address concerns with its supply.

    The NGI president says the regulator has done nothing to help the company.

    “They’ve said nothing to the board of directors,” said Van Eten.

    “This is a situation that’s been going on for years.

    It has no solution.”

    Van Eotten says there are many challenges to getting natural gas supplies to customers, including an oversupply of natural gas that has forced Manitoba Hydro to ration supplies.

    She says the province has been trying to negotiate an acceptable deal with NGI for years, but hasn’t seen any progress.

    “There is no progress,” said van Etten.

    “We are trying to move forward with the talks and hopefully we’ll be able to have some progress soon.”

    Van Buren says the government needs to get its act together and stop giving the province a bad reputation.

    “When it comes to Manitoba’s environment and energy security, it’s absolutely critical that we continue to do what is necessary to secure the supply of natural resources and protect our environment,” said Buren.

    “I’m not optimistic at all that we’ll see that change in the next two or three months.”

    The Natural Gas Association of Canada (NGA) says its member organizations are all involved in Manitoba’s energy portfolio, but its members have to get their act together.”NGI is not a natural gas supplier, but it does provide natural gas for the province of Manitoba.

    The Natural Gas Alliance is a key member of the Natural Gas Industry Group, and is also a producer of natural-gas infrastructure,” said NGA president and vice-president David Janssen.

    “NGI also provides pipeline, power generation and transmission services to Manitoba Hydro.”

    Van Sest, who was an NDP MLA in Manitoba from 2009 to 2013, says there needs to be a more open and transparent dialogue between government and the private sector.

    “As a private-sector person, I don’t believe that you can really get into the specifics of how we do things because you’re trying too hard to avoid it.

    There needs to have a little more transparency.

    If we really want to get things done, we need to be able be transparent,” said Sest.

    Van Sess says if NGI has its way, Manitoba will be left with a “pond of green gas” for the next 20 to 30 years.

    Van Busty, the NDP MLA who represents St. Thomas, says she has to wonder how long it’ll take to see Manitoba’s resources return to the way they were before gas prices went sky high.

    “Now that the NDP has been in power for two years, I’m worried about the next three years,” said she.

    “For the next 10 years, this is what I think the environment is going to look like.”

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