Skip to main content


Wednesday, March 1, 2017  - 8:49 a.m. MT

Update on flaring at Imperial

Sarnia, ON, March 1, 2017

Imperial Sarnia continues to safely restart units following last week’s operational issue. As a result, visible flaring is expected to continue over the next several days.

The disruption Imperial has experienced is not an emergency situation for the community. Flares are safety devices intended to safely burn off excess product or materials used at the facility. As well, flaring is an environmentally approved measure to safely burn processed material sent to the flare and steam is added to reduce or avoid smoke.

“We are working around the clock to return our refinery and chemical operations to normal in a safe and effective manner and we understand that the flaring, which is part of the restart process, has been visible to the community,” said Rohan Davis, Sarnia refinery manager, Imperial. “We appreciate the community’s patience and apologize for any disruption to our neighbours.”

Added Sarnia chemical plant manager Dave Luecke: “We are committed to being a good neighbour. As we safely manage through this restart we appreciate the patience and understating of the communities within our vicinity including Sarnia, Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Point Edward and Port Huron, Michigan.”

Imperial personnel responded to an operating issue at about 6:20 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. The company alerted the CVECO organization and also communicated about flaring with the City of Sarnia, media and to the general public.

Shortly after responding to the operating issue, Imperial fire personnel assisted in extinguishing a small grass fire on Imperial property at the south end of our operation. Imperial is working to understand the cause of the fire.

Imperial has been closely communicating with Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change since the operational issue began. Imperial is also monitoring air quality as a precaution, with no issues of concern identified since the operating issue began.

Imperial has yet to finalize its investigation into the cause of the operational issue that led to the flaring event.

Members of the community or media with questions are encouraged to call community affairs at 519 339-4015. Updates are available on the Imperial information line at 519 339-2111. As always, members of the community who notice any unusual sights, sounds or odors in the vicinity of our operation are encouraged to call Imperial’s 24-hour plan operations line at 519 339-5666.

After more than a century, Imperial continues to be an industry leader in applying technology and innovation to responsibly develop Canada's energy resources. As Canada's largest petroleum refiner, a major producer of crude oil and natural gas, a key petrochemical producer and a leading fuels marketer from coast to coast, our company remains committed to high standards across all areas of our business.