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Seasonal maintenance at Suncor’s refinery in Edmonton has created shortages of gasoline at Petro-Canada stations around Alberta, CBC reports. This has led drivers to start worrying that Petro-Canada’s competitors will start raising their prices as consumers have no choice but to buy gas from them.
Some stations have even shut down their pumps for lack of product, Canadian media report. This is the second time in two years that Suncor’s fuel retail business has had to shut down pumps.
The last time, the parent company attributed the shortage to production problems in Alberta and the United States. However, at the time Suncor was suffering the fallout of the Fort McMurray wildfires that crippled Alberta’s crude oil production, and an outage at the Edmonton facility.
Not everyone is worried, however. CBC quotes petroleum consultant Michael Ervin as saying "I've seen circumstances in the past where these unforeseen shortages in supply have occurred where we haven't seen any significant rise in the retail or wholesale pump price and that may be the case here — certainly at this point we haven't seen any significant increases in Calgary so far."
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Suncor will likely tackle the shortage by bringing in gas from other Edmonton refineries or the company’s processing facility in Saskatchewan. If these fail to supply adequate amounts of fuel, Ervin told CBC, Petro-Canada might have to source gasoline from refineries in eastern Canada or even the U.S. Midwest.
Suncor has four refineries, in Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario, and one in Colorado. The one under maintenance in Alberta has a capacity of 142,000 bpd of crude and is the company’s biggest refining facility. The second-biggest is in Montreal, Quebec, with a capacity of 137,000 bpd. The Colorado facility is the third-biggest, capable of processing 98,000 bpd of crude oil, and the smallest one, in Ontario, can process 85,000 bpd.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.