VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - The saboteur who has bombed three natural gas installations in northeast British Columbia is likely a local resident with knowledge about the sites, Canadian police said on Saturday.
Police said the latest attack on a wellhead near the village of Tomslake, British Columbia happened at about midnight on Thursday, but was not discovered until midday on Friday when workers visited the well and heard leaking gas.
It was the third bombing of a natural gas facility in the area in less than a month. All three attacks happened in the middle of the night at facilities at isolated locations. The first two attacks involved pipelines.
“When looking at when and where the attacks occurred it is safe to say that the person or persons responsible knows how to locate the sites and has knowledge of the sites,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Tim Shields said.
“For a person to have this information they would likely have to be from the immediate area or have spent significant time in the area,” Shields said.
There have been no injuries in the attacks, but two caused small leaks. Energy firm EnCana Corp said its crews were still working to stop the leak from the latest incident but there was no danger to the general public.
The attacks are believed linked to a letter sent to media warning the energy industry to leave the area near Tomslake and the neighboring town of Dawson Creek, British Columbia and stop the expansion of “deadly gas wells.”
The facilities attacked were all involved in the production of “sour” natural gas that contains toxic hydrogen sulfide. The toxic substance is removed from the natural gas at an EnCana processing facility near Tomslake.
The hand-written letter did not contain a specific threat, and nobody has claimed responsibility for the explosions.
Police said several people apparently heard the latest explosion, but nobody alerted the police because they apparently believed somebody else had already done so.
Security has been tightened around energy facilities in the area since the first attack, but industry experts say there is so much gas production in the region it would in impossible to keep all the equipment under constant surveillance.
Reporting Allan Dowd, Editing Alan Elsner