Edmonton Diesel Advances as Unplanned Work Cuts Supplies

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel in Edmonton are near the highest level this year as Royal Dutch Shell Plc performed work at the Scotford refinery and Suncor Energy Inc.’s Edmonton plant reported an upset.

Suncor reported an operational upset at the 140,000-barrel-a-day Edmonton plant Oct. 28 and a power failure Sept. 21. Shell’s 97,870-barrel-a-day Scotford refinery “should be back up again in the near future” after maintenance, Simon Henry, Shell’s chief financial officer, said today on the company’s third-quarter earnings call.

“Earlier in October, planned and unplanned maintenance activities in the region, including the power supply disruption and a train derailment, exacerbated an already tight industry supply situation,” Nicole Fisher, spokeswoman for Calgary-based Suncor, said by e-mail today.

Suncor raised the price for No. 2 ultra-low-sulfur diesel 2.9 cents to $3.414 a gallon today at the wholesale rack in Edmonton, data compiled by Schneider Electric’s DTN show. The price reached an eight-month high of $3.4597 a gallon on Oct. 17.

Companies are getting notes at the wholesale rack “saying they’re being limited,” said Don Wilson, executive director of the Alberta Motor Transport Association, which represents companies with fleets of trucks. “They made it sound like it was no big deal, we do it every season, and no, that’s not what I’m seeing.”

Suncor was “experiencing a diesel supply shortage affecting parts of western Canada” and was working to lessen the impact on customers by finding alternate supplies, Fisher said in an e-mailed statement Oct. 2. Five days later, she said several of the company’s Petro-Pass fueling centers had received delivery and were fully operational while some in western Canada were still affected.

Shell was scheduled to idle its entire Scotford refinery in September, a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public said.

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