Petro-Canada Refinery Shutdown Causes Shortage

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Petro-Canada Refinery Shutdown Causes Shortage

Petro-Canada, Canada's second- largest refiner, said filling stations in Alberta and British Columbia may run out of fuel after the unexpected shutdown of a unit at its Edmonton, Alberta, refinery.

The company is investigating the reason for the closing of the catalytic cracking unit, a gasoline-producing piece of equipment, according to a Bloomberg report. Petro-Canada spokesperson Jon Hamilton said the reduction in gasoline could last several weeks as the company fixes the unit.

"It could be short term, it could be a little longer," Hamilton said. "We're looking at, I'd say, weeks not days, right now."

Gasoline shortages may occur in parts of British Columbia's so-called interior region and Alberta, Petro-Canada said in a statement. The Calgary-based company said it's trying to boost supplies in Canada's western provinces partly by buying fuel from rivals.
Deliveries to some customers and filling stations have been curbed, Hamilton said without providing details.

"The deliveries that we're sending out are reduced from what they would normally get,'' he said. "That might mean a smaller load or that might mean less frequent loads."

The company intends to import more supplies to its port terminal in Vancouver and truck the fuel to customers, Hamilton said. Petro-Canada also is altering its distribution network across the country to boost supply in western Canada.

The equipment failure is unrelated to a C$2.2 billion ($2.07 billion) modification project nearing completion at the plant. Parts of the refinery were scheduled to be shuttered for about two months starting this month so that the plant can run on crude extracted from Alberta's oil sands.

Output at the refinery was cut last month because of a water-boiler equipment problem. The plant is capable of processing 135,000 barrels a day.

Imperial Oil Ltd. of Calgary is Canada's largest refiner and marketer.