June 06, 2016 - 2:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - The gasoline shortage impacting Petro-Canada stations in the Southern Interior has hit Kamloops.
An unplanned outage at Suncor's Edmonton refinery has lead to fuel shortages at Petro-Canada stations across Western Canada, and at least two Petro-Can stations in the city are now without gas.
The Petro-Can at 10th Avenue and Battle Street and the cardlock location on Highway 1 in Valleyview are both empty. The station on Rogers Way in Aberdeen is selling premium gas at regular prices because they've run out of regular and midgrade, according to a staff member.
Up to 18 stations are without gas in the Thompson-Okanagan, including stations in Kamloops, Merritt, Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon, according to B.C. Gasbuddy.com petroleum analyst Dan McTeague.
The shortage is hitting a large section of Canada — from the B.C. Interior to Thunder Bay — with no timeline for when things will return to normal, McTeague says, adding the issue may not be short term because a central piece of equipment at the Suncor refinery in Edmonton is damaged.
“A coker broke down,” he says. “It may be time intensive to get back online.”
If the shortage continues, McTeague expects more stations to run dry. He’s heard of up to 100 stations being without gas across western Canada.
The shortage may be exasperated by issues at the Shell-owned refinery in Edmonton as well, he says. He’s heard reports from Winnipeg that stations supplied by Shell are running out of gasoline.
With the majority of gas in western Canada coming from only three refineries in Edmonton, McTeague says the oil industry thought it could do more with less, but that can lead to problems during high consumption periods or equipment malfunctions.
“Refineries in Canada have painted themselves into a corner,” he says. “That can create a more tense situation.”
Prince George has a small refinery which produces enough gas for that region, while the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island get gas from the refineries in the U.S.
He says it's unlikey gasoline from the U.S. or other parts of Canada will be used to supply drivers in the Southern Interior due to the high cost.
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