The haze blanketing the Riau province from forest-clearing and plantation fires has caused hundreds of oil wells to be shut, the Jakarta Post reported.

Chevron Pacific Indonesia, the country’s biggest producer of crude oil, shut down 573 oil wells.

Estimated production losses are about 12,000 barrels of oil per day, the report said.

Handoyo Budi Santoso, the chief of the public relations division at the country’s upstream oil and gas regulator (SKKMigas), said the shutdowns were in Riau province.

Handoyo said the biggest production loss came from the shutdown of Chevron’s Rokan block, the Jakarta Globe said.

Losses from the Rokan block, Handoyo said, are about 8,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).

Air pollution reached level “red” late last week. That means the Pollution Standard Index (PSI) had gone beyond the tolerance level of 500, the Jakarta Globe said.

The shutdowns are intended to help workers avoid exposure and contamination from the haze.

Two weeks ago, Chevron said it was relocating the families of employees from areas affected by air pollution from land fires.

The evacuation because of air quality impacted several areas of Riau, such as Bangko, Dumai, Duri and Rumbai, Chevron said.

The smoke has also lowered air quality in Singapore and parts of Malaysia.

The smoke is coming from about 2,000 fires in the area.

“Despite forestry and environmental laws prohibiting land-clearance by fire, and despite companies operating in those areas pledging zero-burning policies, the fires return every year, because it is such a cheap and fast method to pave the way for new paper-pulp and palm oil plantations,” the Jakarta Globe said.


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