There’s quite an effort underway at Petro-Canada to move as much gasoline into the interior of BC and Alberta as possible. Safety is always first and foremost, but when you have a dedicated team of people with years of experience in moving fuel across this country, they can really step up their efforts when a situation like this arises.
First, we’ve maximized the amount of gasoline available in Alberta and the interior of BC by taking as much supply pressure off this area as possible. So, rather than continue to ship gasoline from Edmonton to Thunder Bay, we are delivering gasoline by rail car from Montreal with great success. On the Western front, we’re importing gasoline into our Burrard Terminal in Vancouver to improve our supply position. Vancouver and the Island will continue to be served by the Burrard Terminal, but we are temporarily expanding its importance to service a much larger piece of geography.
To move gasoline farther inland, we are accessing and deploying a fleet of trucks that is unprecedented in Western Canada. At this point, our expanded fleet is able to ship 200 thousand litres of gasoline a day from Vancouver to our main Terminal in Kamloops – a 14 hour round trip. By next week, we should have enough trucks to more than triple that amount. That’s quite a build up when you consider that this is something new for us. Once the gasoline is delivered to the Terminal, it will be distributed into Kamloops and points beyond.
So how far away are the trucks coming from? Many are from BC and Alberta, but three of the fuel trucks are coming from Toronto, a distance of more than 3,000 kms. Due to provincial regulations, they’ll be travelling empty, but once they get to Vancouver, they’ll be joining our growing fleet.
While there is a lot of driving involved, drivers are strictly regulated on how many hours they can drive for safety purposes. We take that very seriously and ensure the drivers get proper rest. We also ensure they are properly certified and trained on all safety requirements. We also want to keep delivering gasoline, so we are flying additional experienced drivers from Ontario to keep the trucks moving.
We are also investigating bringing gasoline in from the U.S. and various other rail options.
One complicating factor is that gasoline is no longer just gasoline. Fuel specifications in each province are different. While BC and Alberta do not require ethanol to be blended with gasoline, many provinces have ethanol mandates. Ethanol is alcohol, which means you can’t blend it with regular unleaded gasoline. You have to blend it with something called RBOB gasoline. That’s not an awkward short-form from Robert, RBOB stands for Reformulated Gasoline Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending. That’s just one of the differences and I haven’t even touched on the fuel specifications in the US or Europe. To make a long-story short, we can’t just bring gasoline from anywhere and sell it – like putting 2% milk in your coffee instead of cream. The gasoline we bring into Alberta and BC and distribute to customers has to meet Canadian and provincial specifications and be properly blended and additized before being sent to our customers.
Even with these measures and the others we are considering, we will still continue to experience run-outs of gasoline at our retail sites. In the meantime, I thought you would appreciate a bit of insight into the efforts we are going to to try and serve you.