Diesel fuel rationing required

By Rhonda Cooper

On the trading market or at the local gas pumps, diesel fuel is a hot commodity.

Province wide, owners and operators of diesel powered vehicles are not only facing a shortage of diesel but also paying a premium price of up to a $1.30 per litre.

“All gas stations are experiencing shortages,” said Len Labossiere, Meadow Lake Co-op’s general manager. “But with the refineries coming back on line, we hope that in the next little while the supply will improve.”

A number of factors played into the shortage of winter diesel fuel said Labossiere. The Regina refinery fire in October, the annual maintenance shut downs of plants and the volatility of the trading markets.

Vic Huard, vice-president of Corporate Affairs at Federated Co-operatives Limited, indicated in previous reports that the shortage worsened when the Suncor Refinery in Edmonton went down. Suncor was unable to source hydrogen, a critical element in the production of emission-ready diesel and was forced to reduce production for a two-week period. The combination of Suncor’s slow down, the 20 per cent production drop at Regina’s refinery, and an increased demand created a western-wide shortage.

Although Suncor was back up and running as of late November, resuming full production requires weeks.

“We were really fortunate harvest was done when it was,” said Labossiere. Yet while summer diesel was not an issue, had harvest lingered the shortage of winter diesel could have had a negative impact on the situation.

“Our supplier, Federated Co-op, is still sourcing product from out east and down south for us,” he said.

In response to the shortage, a 300 litre/day/card has been imposed by the Co-op until there is a more plentiful supply.

“I haven’t heard anything direct from our customers and it would affect the trucking industry more than the grain farmers,” Labossiere said.

While Labossiere heard reports that Cold Lake had run out of diesel, neither Yewr-Way Gas Bar in Ile-a-la Crosse nor Buffalo Narrows ServiceCentre in Buffalo Narrows have had an issue with supply.

“We’ve been fortunate in Meadow Lake,” said Labossiere. “But we’re touching wood right now.”

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