End in sight for gas woes
Feb 28, 2007 12:00 PM
Curtis Rush /Staff Reporter
Imperial Oil said today its Nanticoke refinery has restarted crude oil processing at reduced rates, which should ease the gas shortage over the next two weeks.
The company’s refinery near Hamilton, which contributed to a gas shortage in Ontario when it lost half its production due to a fire on Feb. 15, is expected to return to normal refinery operations by mid-March.
However, the gasoline unit will be back at full capacity much sooner, possibly by the end of the week, and that’s good news for motorists, according to Imperial spokesperson Robert Theberge.
Theberge said work is continuing to repair pipes and electrical cables that were damaged by fire and water two weeks ago.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said today that he has been assured by the chief executives of Petro Canada and Shell Canada that “they are doing everything they can” and gas supplies should be back to normal in seven to 10 days.
McGuinty would not comment when asked whether the province has an emergency plan in case the situation gets worse.
“I’m not going to speculate on where this is going to go,” McGuinty said, calling the problem a “perfect storm” created by the refinery fire, CN strike, a frozen St. Lawrence Seaway and winter challenges.
For now, the gasoline shortages continue, and in some cases, are spreading as the CN Rail strike delayed deliveries.
Shell reported today that it is seeing more stations run out in the Toronto area .
On Tuesday, about 5 per cent of the Shell stations were without fuel, but that number has increased to about 15 per cent today, according to company spokesperson John Peck.
Peck said about 30 stations in the GTA are now without fuel due to high demand.
Shell Canada is trucking in fuel from terminals in Hamilton and Sarnia as well as from the Keele terminal in Toronto.
Imperial Oil reported today that 100 stations throughout the province are without fuel.
Imperial said it is co-ordinating deliveries to commercial and retail customers to ensure priority needs such as emergency services and home-heating customers are met.
Theberge said there is no danger to residential customers because home-heating fuel inventories were high due to the warmer than expected temperatures in December and January.
– with files from Rob Ferguson