Shell station gas shortages could indicate bigger problem, analyst says

Three weeks ago, gas stations in Thunder Bay experienced problems, and before that it was affecting Edmonton.
At least two Shell gas stations in Winnipeg were out of fuel on Thursday. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

The fuel shortage at Winnipeg Shell stations could indicate a deeper problem at refineries in Edmonton, a petroleum analyst says. 

Dan McTeague, with, said he's been monitoring shortages across the country. Three weeks ago, gas stations in Thunder Bay experienced problems, and before that it was affecting stations in Edmonton. 

"It would appear there's still some disruption somewhere along the network of that particular company," McTeague said.

However, he added that he has been monitoring wholesale prices in Edmonton as well and overall prices are about three cents higher than prices of similar refinery cities, like Chicago.

"[This reflects] the possibility that there is a little bit more to the story than one refinery having difficulty," he said.

The three refineries in Edmonton have all had problems this month, which is putting upward pressure on gas prices, McTeague said. The analyst is still expecting prices to drop but how these refinery problems persist will indicate when that drop will happen, and how big that drop will be. 

It is likely other smaller communities are also seeing shortages, McTeague said. 

"I would have thought that this situation would have resolved itself by now. The fact there are now one, then three, and now five or even seven Shell stations uniquely that are going dry suggests that there are more problems upstream then at this [refinery] in Edmonton," McTeague said.