Western Canada Facing Gasoline Shortages Amid Alberta Fires

  • Suncor sees dearth of fuel from production, refinery downtime
  • Supply to critical sites including Fort McMurray maintained

Drivers across Western Canada are feeling the effect of more than 1 million barrels a day of lost oil-sands production from wildfires as some Petro-Canada gas stations run out of fuel.

Shortages of gasoline and, to a lesser extent, diesel are affecting Petro-Canada retail stations run by Canada’s largest energy company Suncor Energy Inc. and independent operators in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the interior of British Columbia. The dearth of supply is the result of less upstream production at Suncor’s oil-sands sites reaching its Edmonton refinery and an unplanned outage last week of a unit at the refinery, Sneh Seetal, a spokeswoman, said Wednesday in a phone interview.

The wildfire that began May 1 forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents of Fort McMurray, other communities in the region and worker accommodation camps near oil-sands sites. Companies including Suncor, Syncrude Canada Ltd. and Athabasca Oil Corp. that had slowed or shut in production as flames raged near their sites in northern Alberta are now working to bring supplies back online.

The transportation fuel supply disruption for Suncor will be temporary, though it’s unclear how long it will last as the company works to inspect and restart the shut-down refinery unit, Seetal said. Suncor is also bringing back production at its oil-sands sites affected by the wildfire, securing other sources of feedstock for the refinery, and is maintaining supplies of gasoline and diesel at “critical” Petro-Canada sites including those in Fort McMurray, she said.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.