On Feb. 15, Imperial Oil announced that fuel shipped to airports and retailers after Dec. 28, 2017, failed a conductivity specification test and urged that sales of the out-of-spec fuel be discontinued.
“The primary concern is that the product quality issue may cause interference with on-board fuel gauge sensors of aircraft using avgas,” Imperial Oil said in a Feb. 15 news release.
Airports were cautioned to test their fuel supplies regardless of the shipment’s date, and a national notice to airmen posted Feb. 16 advised pilots flying in Canada to check locally for fuel availability, based on the unknown extent of the problem.
The notam was later discontinued, but some airports and fuel retailers have had to test their fuel inventories, and scramble to find alternative sources of supply, since the problem was disclosed.
On March 7, Imperial Oil announced that it has “identified all locations that received potentially off-spec product and has completed close to all of the testing at those sites. At this point, approximately 70 percent of the sites tested have been confirmed as fit-for-use.”
“We have also been working around the clock to secure alternative supplies from across North America. These efforts have been successful, and we believe our supply of avgas to customers will normalize by the end of the month,” the company said.
Jon Wetmore, vice president of Imperial Downstream, added, “We recognize this situation has significantly disrupted the avgas flying community and we apologize for this.”
Imperial said its investigation into the cause of the problem was progressing, and the company urged product users to “stay informed about Transport Canada NOTAM instructions.”
The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association and AOPA also urged pilots to check notams and communicate directly with fuel retailers about the availability of avgas at their planned destination airports in Canada.