Suncor Energy apologized Friday for the gas shortage at Petro-Canada stations across western Canada, as gas production problems in the United States and Alberta were blamed for a fuel shortage at the pumps.
“There will be a temporary shortage of supply at Petro-Canada sites in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well as the interior of B.C.,” Sneh Seetal, a spokesperson for Suncor Energy, said.
“We apologize for the inconvenience and we are doing everything possible to make sure we can continue to be serving them.”
Seetal said the problem is the result of the Fort McMurray wildfire and an outage at its Edmonton refinery.
“Typically we have ample refined product. Given the prolonged duration of the fire and its impact on the supply for our refinery and the unplanned unit outage at the Edmonton refinery, our product inventory levels were greatly reduced.”
The company is taking steps to replenish stations that have run out of gas.
“On the refinery supply front, we are securing additional supply for the refinery. We are also re-starting our oilsands in a safe manner. On the product side in terms of gasoline and diesel, we are bringing in additional gasoline from within our network and moving it by truck and rail.”
On Friday morning, Global News crews noticed several Petro-Canada gas stations sitting empty in Calgary with prices at other stations hovering around $1.10 a litre for regular gasoline — an overnight increase of about 10 cents a litre.
Signs posted on gas pumps at a Petro-Canada station in southwest Calgary said “the location is temporarily out of fuel. We are making every effort to resolve the situation.”
A number of Petro-Canada stations in Edmonton were also closed because they were out of gas, as were several gas stations in Kelowna, B.C.
On Friday morning, gas prices in Edmonton sat at around $1.06 per litre.
Some drivers aren’t happy with the price spike at the pump, but others say they saw it coming.
“I don’t know what to tell you – 10 cents, that’s brutal – and it’s not even a long weekend,” Colin Tyrer said.
“I’ve been in the oil patch since 1995. Every year there’s a refinery problem. That’s getting to be a pretty old excuse.”
However, Laura Edmonds said she was prepared ahead of time.
“I do understand what’s going on in Fort McMurray was about to affect gas prices, so I was able to anticipate that was going to happen,” she said.
Petroleum analyst Dan McTeague said it was unclear how long the shortage might last.
“It looks like that shortage is likely to move not only to Petro-Can stations, which are owned by Suncor, but I would expect a domino effect and we’d see a lot of Esso stations running dry,” McTeague said.