A problem at an Edmonton refinery casues more than a few headaches for Petro Canada, the Daily News outlined the pending gas shortage across Western Canada with a front page story in the August 14 edition of the paper.
REFINERY GLITCH MAY SQUEEZE RUPERT GAS PUMPS
Petro-Canada supplies could be hurt locally
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Petro-Canada customers across BC and Alberta were threatened with a gas shortage on Wednesday because of a catalytic-cracking unit problem at the company’s Edmonton refinery.
Three-quarters of the gas suppliers in Prince Rupert are affiliated with Petro-Canada and so the shortage could affect many drivers on the north coast. Prince Rupert, like many communities in the north, gets its Petro-Canada gas from Via Rail lines directly from Edmonton and so the area could be affected just as much as the BC interior, which has 62 gas stations potentially affected.
"It is going to be at least a couple of days until we can tell where we are at as far as the length of the supply shortage,” said Kelli Stevens, a spokesperson for Petro-Canada.
Stevens said that a team of refinery employees was assessing the damage, which would take some time because of safety regulations for refinery inspection.
Stevens did admit that the gas shortage could last up to a couple of weeks as fixing the catalytic cracking unit would be complex and detailed.
The unit is the vital last step in refining oil. Turning oil into gasoline is like a baking device for crude, or as Stevens put it, it’s sort of like a doughnut deep fryer in that Petro-Canada “still have the raw ingredients but nothing to make it with.”
Anyone requiring diesel or jet0fuel will still be able to purchase their fuel from Petro-Canada, according to Stevens, as the refinery problem is only a gas issue.
Emergency vehicles will still be able to fill-up as the gas company has made them priorities during the gas dearth.
The rest of the Petro-Canada stores will be supplied on a rolling basis, leaving them with a one-day with, one day-without routine.
Customer will know which stores have fuel and which stores don’t because the ones without will have “zeroed-out” price signs and yellow tape on the gas pumps telling customers there is no gas in the wells.
“Our guys at the refinery plant are a great team and are working as fast as possible to get this fixed,” said Stevens.