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Alberta forest fires shut 9% of Canada’s oil sands output

26 May 2015

Cenovus Energy has closed its 135,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Foster Creek operation and Canadian Natural Resources its 80,000 bpd Primrose and 18,000 bpd Kirby South projects after a number of forest fires threatened production facilities in northeastern Alberta. As of May 25, one wildfire near the companies’ facilities was classed as ‘out of control’ and three others ‘under control’. 

Stock image
Stock image

Road access has been cut off and the companies have evacuated hundreds of workers, but there are no reports of facilities being damaged.

The forest fire ravaging the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, a military training ground where several oil projects are located, has more than doubled in size since it broke out on May 23 and is now estimated at more than 8,200 hectares.

More than 200 firefighters are on the scene, according to Alberta’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development agency, and one pilot has died fighting the blaze.

According to the Globe & Mail, it is one of 29 wildfires currently burning in Alberta. A 200-hectare blaze forced about 2,000 people from their homes in the Wabasca area, 325 kilometres north of Edmonton, on May 24.

Imperial Oil Ltd.’s Cold Lake development, Devon Energy Corp.’s Jackfish project and the operations of MEG Energy and Husky Energy are currently in production, although the companies say they are monitoring events closely.

Canada will produce about 2.3 million barrels a day from its oil sands region this year, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

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