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Canada: B.C. requests access to secure gas reserves in United States

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Premier John Horgan sits down for a one-on-one interviews with Global News. © Richard Zussman/Global News Premier John Horgan sits down for a one-on-one interviews with Global News.

Premier John Horgan has put in a formal request to the Canadian government to ask the United States to access secure gas reserves.

In a one-on-one interview with Global News, Horgan said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal officials will be asking the Biden administration for help to procuring gas.

"I have made appeals to the prime minister, who is meeting with President Biden," he said. "If there are resources in the United States that could be freed up in the short-term, that would assist us."

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The request comes after a week of catastrophic rainfall in the province that has shutdown highways, wreaked havoc on supply chains, and displaced thousands of people.

Due to the shutdown of the Trans Mountain pipeline and damage to the roadways, the province is right now "running right on the edge," said Horgan.

The province currently has enough gasoline for the next few days and is optimistic more help will be coming.

Read more: Burnaby refinery maintaining fuel supply as Trans Mountain pipeline remains closed

Meanwhile, Trans Mountain has said it's focusing its efforts in the region between Chilliwack and Merritt where weather had the most affect on the infrastructure.

A key priority is access to those areas and the company is "actively assisting the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure with getting roads cleared," it said in a Thursday press statement.

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Washington state also counts on the Trans Mountain pipeline, so it is unlikely there will be additional gas supplies directly from B.C.'s closest southern neighbours.

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The provincial government has also asked Alberta and Saskatchewan for help with gas supply.

"The work is under way right now, working with suppliers, working with Alberta," said Horgan. "I have had conversations with Premier Kenney, Premier Moe in Saskatchewan also have reserves there.

"Don't show up with a pile of jerry cans when you know the person behind you is on empty and has got to get home to their kids and their families," he added.

Read more: Concerns over B.C. gas shortages have experts warning against panic buying

The province is also meeting with major employers about encouraging workers to stay at home.

Many businesses adapted to work from home during the pandemic and the province hopes that will continue during the newest public emergency.

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"If you don't need to fill up your car, don't," said Horgan.

"We have asked major employers, we found during the pandemic you could do a lot of work from home, if you don't need to travel to your work place, stay at home."

Some gas stations in Victoria reported running out of gas on Wednesday and Thursday. The province has been able to get tankers from further north on Vancouver Island to move gas into the capital region.

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said now is not the time for drivers to panic and is confident in the work being done to secure additional supply.

"People observed other people queuing up and started buying gas. People who might use half a tank in a week decided to top up for no reason," he told reporters on Thursday.

"We are aware of the supply chain risks and that is why we are working on Trans Mountain to inspect the line and are looking at transporting fuel from other jurisdictions."

Read more: Four people now missing following deadly slide north of Pemberton, B.C.

British Columbia is also working with the United States on getting access to other goods.

Some major distributors and suppliers will be tapping in to American distribution lines to move product into B.C., said Horgan.

"Our friends in Washington state will be able to accelerate getting goods and other durable goods into British Columbia. Our ports remain open," said the premier.

"People should be calm about the supply chain but be aware they are strained beyond capacity."

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