Two Canadian rail terminal owners unable to take oil amid strike

Image: Northern Platforms/SafeRack

Canada’s oilpatch is set to start feeling the full force of Canadian National Railway Co.’s worker strike, with two crude-by-rail terminal operators unable to receive any more oil deliveries.

TORQ Energy Logistics Ltd. won’t be able to get any more crude at its CN-serviced rail terminals once all the empty rail cars are filled up, forcing oil producers to find another place to put their crude, Kent McDougall, chief commercial officer, said by phone Friday. Altex Energy Ltd. is in a similar situation with its terminals in Lashburn, Lynton, Unity and Falher.

If the strike isn’t resolved, “we will go to zero within a few days if not immediately,” John Zahary, Altex chief executive officer, said late Thursday.

The Western Canadian oil patch has grown increasingly reliant on rail to get crude, Canada’s biggest export, to refiners as far away as the U.S. Gulf Coast in recent years as pipelines filled to capacity. CN shipped 180,000 barrels a day of crude in September, making up more than half of Canada’s total crude-by-rail exports that month.

About 3,200 conductors and yard operators at Canadian National walked off the job Tuesday, snarling shipments.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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