Canada’s Suncor expands oil railcar supplies to Montreal refinery

04 February 2014 18:14  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Suncor has expanded oil railcar shipments to its Montreal refinery to about 30,000 bbl/day, the CEO of the Canadian oil, refining and petrochemicals major said on Tuesday.

Suncor aims to expand the range of oil supplies to the Montreal refinery to take advantage of crude oil price differentials, in particular differentials between Canadian inland crude and Brent.

Oil railcar shipments from western Canada to the 137,000 bbl/day refinery began in the fourth quarter, following completion of a rail offloading facility. In addition, Suncor is taking marine deliveries of oil from the US Gulf Coast to Montreal.

CEO Steve Williams, speaking during a conference call, also said that Suncor expects Canadian regulators to make a decision in the current first quarter on a project to reverse the flow of an existing oil pipeline to go from west to east to further increase oil supplies from Alberta to the Montreal refinery.

“We want to configure the Montreal refinery so we can optimise a broad basket of crude going in there, and that basket will include the full range of western crude, from upgraded synthetic crude right away through to dilute bitumen,” Williams said.

“But it will also include the opportunity to take discounted mid-continent crude in there as well, and it will include the ability to import crude over the water through the marine facility we have [at Montreal],” he said.

“That flexibility, we think, is the most powerful position for the Montreal refinery to be in,” he said.

Williams added that Suncor is steadily increasing the nameplate capacity of its four refineries in North America.

“In a world where crude prices are volatile and integration drives profitability, expanding our existing refining capacity is extremely important – it’s a very low-cost way of growing both production and profitability,” he said.

In addition to Montreal, Suncor has refineries in Denver, Edmonton, and at Ontario’s petrochemicals hub in Sarnia.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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