Western fuel supplies on road to recovery?
CALGARY -- Suncor Energy says it has finished repairs to a processing unit at its Alberta oil sands plant, which has been shut down since August.
According to reports, The company has begun startup preparations, which would hopefully help relieve the diesel supply crunch in Western Canada and specifically Alberta.
The shutdown of the hydrotreater at Suncor's oil sands upgrader north of Fort McMurray reportedly did not affect overall production levels, but cut its ability to produce light, synthetic oil and diesel fuel.
The outage -- along with shutdowns at Petro Canada and Imperial Oil and Husky facilities for scheduled maintenance -- has been cited for a shortage of diesel in Western Canada.
The shortage has led to rationing at several service stations and cardlocks in Alberta.
The province typically posts some of the lowest diesel price averages in Canada, but last week Southern Alberta pump prices were closer to Atlantic Canada and Northern Quebec, which usually charge the most for diesel.
The average price in Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary ranged between $1.25 and $1.29 a liter last week. That's compared to prices hovering just over $1.20 in many parts of Southern Ontario.
It's unclear when the Suncor facility will be able to ramp up to full capacity or when technical glitches at the other suppliers' facilities will be solved.
Mayne Root, executive director for the Alberta Motor Transport Association, told media last week that he expects the supply volatility to linger in some areas for another week or so.