Since Petrocan, Shell and Imperial Oil are the area's main refiners losing Petrocan put pressure on their retail outlets. Of course this should have been predicated. Add to that the shut down of East Coast gasoline due to Ike and you have the perfect storm.
As for the solution it is as clear as the nose on Uncle Ed's face, we need more refinery capacity in Alberta and Canada. Of course given the anti regulatory anti-public ownership attitude of Big Oil and its government in Alberta that ain't gonna happen any time soon.
In March, a shut down at Imperial's 187,000-barrel-a-day Strathcona refinery near Edmonton caused gasoline shortages at Esso stations throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan, B.C. and Manitoba.
Around the same time, Shell Canada Ltd. said its Scotford refinery and upgrader near Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., were operating at reduced rates because of unplanned maintenance.
Last year, Ontarians experienced gasoline shortages for several weeks after a fire at Imperial's Nanticoke refinery.
Canada's refining infrastructure is aging, but companies are not keen on investing in new facilities, said Roger McKnight, an energy analyst with Oshawa, Ont.-based consulting firm En-Pro.
Not only would it would take up to 10 years and billions of dollars to build a new refinery, but they would tilt the market against the companies' favour.
"Their refining margins would drop because of excess supply. So there's no incentive at all for them to do that," McKnight said.
Another factor discouraging the industry from spending money on new refineries is uncertainty about government regulations.
"If I was an oil company, I would like to know in 10 years, when I'm going to have this refinery built, what the eventual specs are going to be and what the emission standards are going to be," McKnight said.
And so we have gasoline shortages on refinery row.
Back in August, it was Petro-Canada. Now, it’s Shell that has run out of gasoline at some of its Alberta stations.
In Medicine Hat, the Shell stations on Dunmore Road and Eighth St. NW have been out of gas since Friday, while the Shell on South Railway had gas as of Monday but wasn’t sure how long its supplies would last. Shell stations on Redcliff Drive SW and Trans-Canada Way were reporting they still have gas.
Jana Masters, spokesperson for Shell Canada, said there are also a couple of stations in Calgary and Edmonton that are running on empty.
“But these are very small numbers compared to our total operations across the province,” she said.
While the Petro-Canada gas shortage in August had to do with a problem at that company’s refinery, Masters said that is not the case at Shell.
“It’s just a temporary challenge keeping up to customer demand,” Masters said.
It is the lack of tertiary refining that causes gasoline shortages in Canada and subsequently price increases. And wqe won't get more refineries built until there is a national initiative to make it so including a Green Plan.
Call it a Green National Energy Program. If you want to end price gouging lets have a made in Canada Energy Plan that includes increased bitumin processing and tertiary refining capacity.
Of course others have solutions too, like importing more dirty gas from the U.S. but that is all refined in Hurricane Alley, and we know what that means. 13 cent price increases in one day.
Of course the solution is not unrestricted trade with the U.S. for dirty gas, rather the solution was in hand until the Liberals under Paul Martin sold off the last of Canadians taxpayers shareholdings in Petrocan.There is a solution to price gouging, that is worker and community control of the refineries.
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