Refinery upkeep blamed for shortage of gas

A fuel shortage at hundreds of Alberta gas stations is continuing today with several stations expecting their pumps to run dry of gasoline and diesel sometime this week.



The temporary shortage has already hit the Crestview Esso, near 95 Ave. and 149 St., where several pumps were shut off before the weekend.



"We’re still okay, for now, but we will probably run out of fuel in the next few days," said a station manger for a north Edmonton fuel outlet, who didn’t want his name published.

Another manager of an inner-city gas station said his station has plenty of fuel today, but will run out if a scheduled delivery truck cancels an expected shipment by mid-week.

Imperial Oil has blamed unplanned maintenance at their Strathcona refinery for reducing the available fuel supply for over 500 retail outlets.

A spokesman for the company could not be reached for further comment yesterday. However, a source at the refinery — who asked not to be named — said crews were tackling the after effects of a serious breakdown. Kilometres of pipe are being unclogged using sand-blasting and high-pressure water.

The company is aiming at March 17 to be back up and running but the source told Metro that it is unlikely that repair workers will be able to meet that target.

Other stations in Alberta and British Columbia are facing rotating shortages until fuel can be imported from other suppliers.