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Petro-Canada's operational struggles

Cost inflation in the oil sands and a mixed performance elsewhere are disappointing Petro-Canada's investors. Derek Brower reports

IT HAS BEEN a rough few months for Petro-Canada. In August, a problem at a catalytic converter in the company's Edmonton refinery shut down the unit. The month before, a problem with the water-boiler reduced output. Now the entire 135,000 barrels a day (b/d) plant is out of action, part of a planned C$2bn ($2bn) upgrade. The run on gasoline that followed the refinery glitches lead to outages at 90 filling stations in British Columbia and Alberta, leaving Western Canadians peeved. But then Petro-Canada has always been the fall guy of the country's energy sector. When the government of prime minister Pierre Trudeau created Petro-Canada as a national oil company to capitalise on Alberta's rich

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