Image courtesy of Cenovus Energy.

A new wildfire threat has prompted Cenovus Energy and Canadian Natural Resources to halt production at heavy oil facilities in Alberta.

Cenovus said on Tuesday that it safely shutdown production at its Pelican Lake facility and evacuated 118 staff members after the fire moved to within about half a mile of the site.

No damage to the company’s facilities or infrastructure has been reported.

The company said Wednesday that the fire is not an imminent threat to its facility and it expected 44 essential staff members to return to the site Wednesday evening.

Production at the 23,000 bpd heavy oil facility was still shutdown as of Wednesday.

Cenovus is evaluating if it can restart production sometime on Thursday.

The company added that fireguards have been put in place to protect its facilities.

Canadian Natural Resources told CBC that it has temporarily stopped production at its 800 bpd Pelican Lake site as a precautionary measure and moved-non essential staff from the facility’s northern camp.

The company added that the blaze is at a safe distance from its major Pelican Lake facilities.

The fire was covering an estimated 185 acres as of Wednesday.

The latest blaze is not connected to the devastating wildfire that began in Fort McMurray in early May.

According to Reuters, the fire near Pelican Lake is about 100 miles from the Fort McMurray wildfire.

A report published the U.S. Energy Administration on Wednesday found that production disruptions caused by the Fort McMurray fire averaged about 0.8 million bpd in May, with a daily peak of more than 1.1 million bpd.

“Although projects are slowly restarting as fires subside, it may take weeks for production to return to previous levels. EIA expects disruptions to average 400,000 b/d in June,” the EIA said.


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