Wildfire, Suncor outage triggers petrol shortage across western Canada

Wed Jun 1, 2016 8:09pm EDT
 
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CALGARY, Alberta, June 1 (Reuters) - Suncor Energy Inc's gas stations across Canada's western provinces were grappling with fuel shortages because of wildfire-triggered production cuts along with an unplanned unit outage at the company's Edmonton refinery, a representative said on Wednesday.

Suncor's sapped Petro-Canada outlets stretched from interior British Columbia, through Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, company spokeswoman Sneh Seetal said by phone.

"We are working to minimize the impact on our customers as much as possible," Seetal said. "Our ability to produce gasoline is substantially reduced."

The shortage comes the same day that thousands of evacuees from the wildfire traveled by car back to Fort McMurray, where they face a massive cleanup and uncertainty over their safety.

Suncor was buying third-party products to bolster its own supplies and shipping gas to locations by rail and truck. Its three stations in Fort McMurray, more than four hours' drive north of Edmonton, had received fuel, Seetal said.

"We have designated those stations as critical and will work to ensure adequate supply to support the community's return to their home," Seetal said.

She said the company was still producing gasoline at a reduced rate at the 142,000-barrel-a-day refinery, though she declined to specify how much.

It was not immediately clear how many stations were effected or when supplies would return to normal.

The cause of Friday's unit outage was under investigation, Seetal said.

The shortage also comes as Kinder Morgan Inc solicited nominations for space this week on its Trans Mountain pipeline system mainline for June, as supply shortages from Canada's oil sands appeared to be reaching the West Coast.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Calgary; Editing by Leslie Adler)