Imperial's Alberta refinery back at normal rates

Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:15pm EDT
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Imperial Oil Ltd said on Monday its Strathcona refinery in Edmonton, Alberta, is producing fuel at its usual rates following a power outage more than a week ago that contributed to tight gasoline supplies in the region.

"Refinery operations have returned to normal," Imperial spokesman Jon Harding said.

The 187,000 barrel a day refinery was one of two plants in the Edmonton area that were knocked off line in power outages during a severe electrical storm on July 18, and had to go through a restart process lasting several days.

The other one affected was Petro-Canada's 135,000 bpd Edmonton plant. Its catalytic cracker unit suffered some damage and the company was working to assess the extent.

Petro-Canada was forced to seek alternative gasoline supplies for its retail and wholesale network and some of its gas stations in Alberta ran dry in recent days, spokesman Jon Hamilton said.

"We did have stations that worked through their inventory, and now we're trying to replenish as best as possible," Hamilton said.

Essential service sites will have priority, he said.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Rob Wilson)