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A wildfire that has been raging in Fort McMurray, Alberta for nearly a week has taken more than 600,000 barrels per day of oil sands production offline.

According to Reuters, at least 640,000 barrels per day of capacity was offline as of Thursday although the fire has not reached oil sands sites to the north of Fort McMurray.

About 90,000 residents have been forced to evacuate the oil sands rich area near Fort McMurray as a massive wildfire that began last weekend continues to burn, ABC News said.

No deaths in connection with the fire have been reported.

The Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo said in a social media post on Thursday that a mandatory evacuation has been ordered for residents in Anzac, Gregoire Lakes and Fort McMurray First Nations after weather patterns changed and began pushing the blaze south.

Highway 63 remains closed, the RMWB said Thursday.

There is minor damage to outer structures at the city’s airport but primary infrastructure is still intact.

Nexen Energy began a planned, precautionary shutdown of its Long Lake facility on Thursday and completed the shutdown on Friday.

All remaining personnel on site have been safely evacuated from the facility following the mandatory evacuation orders for the neighboring communities of Anzac and Fort McMurray First Nation.

“Nexen is fully cooperating with the province and the emergency response efforts. We will continue to provide support to help battle the fire,” the company said.

Suncor said Thursday that it will safely shut down operations at its base plant, MacKay River and Firebag in a “planned and controlled fashion.”

The shut down is in response to the third-party precautionary shut-in of key takeaway pipelines and limited availability of incoming diluent.

Prior to the fire, Suncor was operating at reduced rates of about  300,000 barrels per day as it undertook a planned turnaround.

The actions taken are expected to enable a safe and prompt return to full production, Suncor said.

Planning for restart is well advanced, Suncor added.

There has been no damage to any of the Suncor assets or operations in the Fort McMurray region.

As an additional precaution, the company has enhanced the fire mitigation and protection around its operating facilities.

Syncrude continues to operate at reduced rates reflecting limited labor availability.

Shell Canada said Wednesday that, while its operations are far from the fires, it has shut down production at its Shell Albian Sands mining operations so the company can focus on getting families out of the region.

Shell said that efforts to maintain necessary operations at site are ongoing and staff are actively monitoring the fires.

Shell’s work camp, the Albian Village, was still open to any evacuated residents as of Wednesday.

The camp’s flight strip is also being used to fly evacuees out of the area, the company said.


  1. Interesting how the major non oil and gas specific media outlets are proclaiming the rise in oil prices as a result of this fire. Apparently their editors do not keep a constant eye on the daily market volatility as they are quick to pronounce a two or three percent rise in price to reduced production from this fire.

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