Posted by: energyblogwalter | February 26, 2007

Ontario Oil Shortages Spread (Since resolved)

From Toronto Star :: Now shortages hit Shell, Petro-Canada

130 stations have closed in the last two weeks, some 80 are under a rationing system. Basically it’s the domino effect. Interesting to watch (as a pedestrian) how the real time gas supply system is weakened by the slightest change. Note also that the GTA has few options for people who live far from public services or transit.

What if anything can we learn from this? That we’re one CN rail line shutdown and oil fire away from ’70s car lineups?

Any chance of more rail, less dependence on cars, and closer homes/workspaces? Probably not. I don’t think it’ll change anything, but a fine case study on the effects of local shortages in winter.


  1. text from article:::

    Curtis Rush
    Staff Reporter

    The gasoline-supply shortage in Toronto is spreading.

    Not only is Imperial Oil having to close some gas stations in the GTA, but others such as Canadian Tire, Petro-Canada and Shell Canada are coming up dry, too.

    Shell Canada has now closed four or five gas stations in the GTA as a result of the supply shortage.

    Shell is trying to source other areas of Canada and internationally to bring in more fuel, according to spokesperson John Peck.

    “But it takes time for that to come in,” Peck said. “It’s very unusual. It’s a number of things that have come together at the same time to produce a very tight supply in Ontario and Quebec.”

    The shortage has been created by shortages at Imperial Oil, which is driving customers to fill up at Shell and other retail stations.

    Shell Canada has about 200 service stations in the GTA area.

    “We are seeing very high demand at our retail sites,” Shell’s Peck said. “It’s difficult to meet that demand. Our supply people are working flat out. We are seeing some run-outs, but they would be just be temporary.”

    Across Ontario, Imperial Oil has had to close about 100 Esso gas stations, or about 25 per cent of its 400 stations as a result of supply problems related to a fire at its Nanticoke refinery two weeks ago and the CN conductors strike.

    As Esso stations close, consumers are putting pressure on other stations such as Shell.

    Shell’s Peck said the company’s only refinery in Ontario, located in Sarnia, is running “flat out.”

    Peck said that the supply shortage is temporary.

    Petro-Canada says 20 to 30 service stations have had temporary run-outs in the GTA and 80 stations have had to employ gas rationing. Motorists at those stations are limited to 75 litres per fill-up, and most people are respecting those limits, according to Petro-Canada spokesperson Jon Hamilton.

    The oil and gas industry is keeping Energy Minister Dwight Duncan informed on the supply problems, he said.

    The CN strike put pressure on supply, but now that a tentative agreement has been reached in that labour impasse, gas deliveries should start coming more regularly, Peck said.

    “The CN strike has compounded the problems, just in terms of moving fuel around,” the Shell spokesperson said. “Normally, rail is the way we do transport fuel.”

    Shell also employs independing trucking companies, but in the wake of the CN rail strike, there’s more demand from companies that wouldn’t normally use trucks.

    “Now that the strike is over it’s good news, but it’s hard to say how long it’s going to be to get back to normal because there’s pent-up demand there,” Peck said.

    Meanwhile, since gas prices are driven by supply and demand, prices have jumped from 84 cents a litre to nearly $1 a litre in the past two weeks.


    “””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.”””

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