The president of the Canadian Oilwell Drilling Contractors has confirmed that some drilling rigs have had to shut down as a result of the diesel shortage sweeping across western Canada.
Don Herring says this isn’t the first time the industry has operated under threats of a fuel shortage.
Herring says the shortage isn’t just affecting the rig sites themselves, it’s also preventing companies that provide secondary services from being able to make it out to the rig site. He also says that right now, oil and gas will have to take a backseat while farmers use available diesel to bring in their crops.
The shortage is partly caused by a shutdown of diesel-refining plants owned by Petro-Canada and Imperial Oil, who are both doing scheduled maintenance on their plant. Suncor Energy’s oil sands refinery, which was subject to an unplanned shutdown earlier this year, is now in the final stages of restarting its plant.
Sneh Sital, spokesperson for Petro-Canada, says the company had made plans to minimize the effect of its scheduled shutdown of a plant in Edmonton, but due to circumstances beyond their control, some of those plans have fallen through.
Sital says it’s difficult to know when diesel supplies will return to normal levels.