Gasoline prices in Western Canada and the US Midwest have jumped due to supply issues surrounding the turnaround of Suncor's 135,000 b/d Edmonton, Alberta, refinery, industry sources said Thursday.
"Suncor's move to secure gasoline and other fuels from other suppliers, this led to a rise in prices," said a Calgary trader.
On April 10, Suncor began five weeks of planned maintenance at the Edmonton plant. On May 10, it said it was in the process of restarting operations. The refinery produces mostly gasoline and distillate fuels for markets in Western Canada.
On Thursday, Suncor said its Petro-Canada retail sites are "currently experiencing a reduction in gasoline inventory in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan," according to its online blog, PumpTalk.
Retail prices for regular grade gasoline in Calgary, including taxes, have risen to an average $1.31/liter ($4.95/gal) up on Thursday from C$1.11/liter on April 9, according to data gathered by MJ Ervin and Associates.
In a US knock-on effect, traders said Thursday that the run-up in Chicago 87-unleaded gasoline between May 1 and May 22 was in part due to increased product demand from Canada. Chicago 87-unleaded gasoline between May 1 and May 22 rose 9.57 cents to $3.0936/gal, Platts data showed.
"We are monitoring the developments and the supply side of gasoline in Alberta should improve once Suncor completes its maintenance work," said Bob McMannus, a spokesman at Alberta's Energy Department.
"Also, of late, there have been some refinery issues in the US Midwest and retail stations in Manitoba that have now turned to our province to secure supplies," said McMannus in a phone interview. "This has intensified the demand."