Image courtesy of Andrea Booher/FEMA.

Norway’s Statoil evacuated over a hundred non-essential employees from an Alberta oil sands site on Tuesday as wildfires ravaged the crude rich province.

The company evacuated about 110 non-essential employees from its 20,000 barrel per day Leismer project but does not expect production to be affected, Reuters said.

“We will evacuate and pare down even further by Friday and keep the bare minimum of people on site,” a Statoil spokeswoman told Reuters.

About 75 employees remain at the site.

Statoil added that it does not expect the wildfires to force a temporary shutdown at Leismer.

Alberta officials said there are about 65 forest fires burning in the province, with about 20 being considered out of control.

Over the weekend,  raging wildfires in the Cold Lake region forced Cenovous and Canadian Natural Resources to temporarily halt work at some projects and evacuate workers.

Cenovous shutdown its Birch Mountain natural gas pant and also halted work and evacuated all 90 staff members at its Narrows Lake oil sands project.

MEG Energy has suspended operations at its 80,000 barrel per day Christina Lake oil sands project and stopped planned maintenance work as the company assess the threat posed by the fires.

“As a precautionary measure, we have temporarily suspended operations, including our planned maintenance turnaround. As soon as we have safety clearance regarding fire hazards, we will resume normal operations,” Senior Vice President responsible for MEG’s Christina Lake operations Jamey Fitzgibbon said.

Husky Energy said its operations in Cold Lake have not been impacted by the fires, but it has suspended operations at its Muskwa natural gas plant and its Overlea compressor facilities in north central Alberta.

According to Reuters, Husky has evacuated a total of six workers from the Muskwa and Overlea sites.

No fire related damages have been reported at the affected sites.


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