January 21, 2012 / 11:53 AM / 6 years ago

Power restored quickly after Sarnia refineries shut

2 Min Read

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A widescale power outage in Sarnia, Ontario shut down two area refineries early on Saturday but power was restored within hours, according to a community alert system.

Suncor's 85,000 barrel-per-day refinery and Imperial Oil's 121,000 bpd plant were shut down and flaring as a safety measure, AlertMail community alert system said.

The widespread power outage began at Suncor at about 5:15 a.m. EST, according to a company spokeswoman, who said they began to safely take operating units out of service.

"We are in the process of assessing our restart schedule and expect to be commencing a staged restart up process as soon as possible," said Sneh Seetal, Suncor's spokeswoman.

Seetal said this was a minor upset and did not anticipate any impact on customer demands.

A representative from Imperial was not immediately available for comment on operations at its refinery.

BP's gas liquids fractionation plant in Sarnia was also affected by the outage, but a company representative said there was no damage to any of the units at the plant because of the outage.

"We are working toward a normal start-up. It might take a little longer than usual because of the cold," said Michelle Bentley, a spokeswoman for BP.

She said it usually took a few hours to get the plant restarted.

The Weather Network said on its website that temperatures in Sarnia were minus 4 degrees Celsius (about 25 degrees Fahrenheit) but with the wind chill, it felt like about minus 9 C (about 16 F).

Shell's 75,000 barrel per day refinery in Corunna, near Sarnia, was not affected by the outage, said Kristina Zimmer, a spokeswoman for the company.

AlertMail said power was restored to the region at about 6:30 a.m.

"Power is now reported to have been restored in Sarnia by Bluewater Power and in Lambton County by Hydro One," a notice posted at 8:54 a.m. said.

Reporting By Janet McGurty in New York; Additional reporting by Scott Haggett in Calgary; Editing By Todd Eastham and Eric Walsh

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