Oil production in Alberta has slowed due to the Fort McMurray wildfires, impacting the price of oil as oilsands based producers were forced to stop operations.

Oil production has slowed in Alberta as a result of the wildfire in Fort McMurray, which has forced the shutdown of more than one million barrels a day of production. This has been impacting the price of oil, and it remains unclear as to when some companies can restore business operations.
Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) announced on May 8 their plan to implement a return to operations in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, although it still isn’t clear when it will return to operations. They said in the press release, in connection with third-party pipeline providers, that they are conducting a thorough assessment to ensure the critical infrastructure required to support the start-up is available and can safely move people back into the region.
On May 9, Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.Aannounced it had been able to safely restart production at its Shell Albian Sands mining operations, making it the first company to resume operations at the center of Canada’s oil sands region.

Meanwhile, Enbridge (TSX:ENB) has also begun inspecting its facilities and has prepared plans to restart operations, according to the Calgary Times.
Zoe Yujnovich, executive vice president, said in the press release, “Safe restart is important to our company and staff to allow us to contribute to the recovery efforts of the Fort McMurray area. Safely resuming some of our operations will help us continue to provide fuel to the firefighters, ambulances, planes and others dedicated to the response efforts.”
It is estimated that it will take a minimum of about a week to restore oilsands mines and steam-driven projects and pipelines, assuming there’s no damage to crucial equipment.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley met with oilsands executives on May 10, including members from Suncor, ConocoPhillips Canada (NYSE:COP) and the Canadian Association of Petroleum producers to discuss their plans.
Al Monaco, Enbridge CEO, said in a statement, “We have a well-trained and experienced team that has developed a detailed logistical plan to enable the safe restart of our pipelines and terminals.”
Shell stated that it would fly its staff in and out of the region, while Imperial Oil (TSX:IMO) said its Kearl oil sand mines project will remain shut until the company has worked out how to move people and materials to and from the remote site.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 


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