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Factbox: Canada wildfire evacuations curb oilfield, pipeline flow
May 6, 2016 / 3:06 PM / 2 years ago

Factbox: Canada wildfire evacuations curb oilfield, pipeline flow

(Reuters) - As exhausted evacuees stranded north of the fire-ravaged Canadian oil town of Fort McMurray sped through the only route out on Friday, about one-third of Canada’s daily oil sands crude capacity was knocked out and some pipelines were closed.

An Enbridge high pressure oil pipeline sign stands as smoke billows from the Fort McMurray in Kinosis, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

While oil sands facilities are not in the fire’s path, several production companies and two pipeline operators have curbed activities and moved workers and others.

At least 720,000 barrels per day (bpd) of capacity were offline on Friday, according to calculations by Reuters. That does not include the unspecified reduction in Syncrude output and some other reductions, so some analysts have estimated about one million barrels were shut in.

Following is a list of what oil producers and pipeline companies have said about nearby operations:

- Suncor Energy Inc, whose oil sands operations are closest to the city, said its main plant 25 km (16 miles) to the north and other assets in the area were safe.

It has closed its main mining site as well as its MacKay River and Firebag thermal oil sands operations. It cited the precautionary shut-in of takeaway pipelines and limited availability of diluent.

Prior to the fire, Suncor said it was operating at reduced rates of approximately 300,000 bpd because of a turnaround. The main mining site can produce up to 350,000 bpd.

Suncor said it expects to promptly return to full production and restart planning is well advanced.

Separately, it said Syncrude continues to operate at reduced rates due to limited labor.

- The Syncrude oil sands project, owned by a consortium of companies including Suncor, said it was reducing operations to help support employees affected by the fire. Syncrude has 2,000 evacuees staying at its camp.

- Imperial Oil Ltd said that as a precaution, workforce levels at its Kearl oil sands mining project have been reduced to essential staff only. Production has been reduced by an unspecified amount. It said its physical plant is unaffected by the fires.

- Athabasca Oil Corp said it shut the Hangingstone project and evacuated all personnel. The fire front is estimated to be within 3 miles (5 km) of the Hangingstone site.

The company said it was in the process of shutting down the well sites and the central facility. On its website, the company said that with a production ramp-up underway, the project was expected to produce 12,000 bpd by the fourth quarter 2016

- Statoil ASA said production at its Leismer oil sands project has been cut by 50 percent to 10,000 bpd to preserve supplies of diluent, which is added to viscous oil sands bitumen so it can flow through pipelines.

- Canadian Natural Resources Ltd said there were some operation outages at its Horizon project, but current operations are stable.

A massive wildfire, which caused a mandatory evacuation, rages south of Fort McMurray near Anzac, Alberta, Canada May 4, 2016. . Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta/Handout via REUTERS

- ConocoPhillips said it shut its 30,000-bpd Surmont operations and evacuated people and workers from the site.

- Nexen Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of China’s CNOOC, said late on Wednesday it was shutting its Long Lake oil sands facility.

Long Lake can produce about 50,000 bpd of synthetic crude but has been operating at reduced rates since late January, when an explosion at the plant left two employees dead.

- Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it closed its Muskeg River and Jackpine oil sands mines, whose combined capacity is 255,000 bpd.

- Husky Energy said it cut production at its Sunrise oil sands project to 10,000 bpd from 30,000 bpd after a pipeline that supplies the project with diluent was shut down.

Smoke billows behind a structure from the Fort McMurray wildfires in Kinosis, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

- Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd said on Thursday it was bringing its Great Divide production back up to 8,000 bpd, after cutting it to 4,000 bpd on Wednesday.

Great Divide is 80 km south of the city, and produced 14,000 bpd in the fourth quarter.

- The following oil sands companies with operations in the region said they were not affected: Cenovus Energy Inc; MEG Energy Corp; and Japan Canada Oil Sands Ltd.


- Enbridge Inc said it shut all pipelines in and out of Cheecham Terminal on Wednesday evening.

The Cheecham facility was evacuated and the Athabasca Terminal reduced to a minimum staff for safety reasons. Line 19 south of Kirby Lake continues to operate, it added.

- Midstream energy company Keyera Corp said its South Cheecham rail and truck terminal, 75 km (47 miles) south of Fort McMurray, has been evacuated and shut down.

South Cheecham is a joint venture between Keyera and Enbridge.

- Inter Pipeline Ltd said on Thursday it reopened its Polaris diluent pipeline to the Fort McMurray area and is ready to reopen its Corridor pipeline system that serves Shell’s oil sands facilities when that operation reopens.

No pipeline assets incurred significant damage as a result of the wildfires.

- TransCanada Corp said it does not expect the wildfire to affect deliveries of natural gas. The nearest pipeline is about 20 km (12 miles) west of the current wildfire.

Reporting by Nia Williams in Calgary and Euan Rocha and Jeffrey Hodgson in Toronto; Compiled by David Gaffen and Josephine Mason in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Jeffrey Benkoe

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