Imperial Oil's refinery in Nanticoke, Ont. has reached 75 per cent capacity as the company struggles to return to full production in the wake of a fire that cut production and contributed to a fuel shortage across Ontario.

In a written statement released Wednesday, the company said "gasoline supply to wholesale and commercial customers has improved as refinery production increases."

The company added that its network of filling stations are getting supplies of fuel and the situation "is expected to continue to improve over the next few weeks."

But Ontario has not emerged from a fuel shortage just yet. Imperial said that the situation "remains very tight."

"Despite all efforts on our part, events of the past several weeks have put customers and associates in a very difficult position and we deeply regret this inconvenience," Imperial Oil vice-president Simon Smith said.

"We continue to work very hard to put our supply network back in balance and deliver on our commitments to our customers."

Two unrelated fires at separate Ontario refineries, one at Nanticoke and the other at Sarnia, operated by Imperial Oil squeezed the company's ability to produce fuel.

The resulting shortage at Esso stations, which are operated by Imperial, forced motorists to buy fuel from competitors. That in-turn created problems as other companies struggled to meet increased demand in Ontario's tight market.

Fuel prices shot up as pumps ran dry. Motorists saw prices rise above the one-dollar mark over a period of less than two weeks.

Prices are expected to begin dropping again once the fuel supply problems have been corrected.

Imperial Oil said they expect to have the Nanticoke facility operating at full capacity by mid-March.