Oilsands production drops 25 per cent in May

The massive wildfires forced producers to shut down crude operations as a precaution

Pumpjacks at work pumping crude oil near Halkirk, Alta., June 20, 2007. With Canada's premiers poised to meet next week in Quebec City to discuss energy strategy and climate change, forces are girding for battle - with Alberta's oilsands the figurative no-man's land that lies between the warring world views. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal

(Larry MacDougal, CP) 

CALGARY — The wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta., helped lead to a 25 per cent drop in oilsands production in May, according to the latest data from the Alberta Energy Regulator.

The numbers released Thursday show upgraded and non-upgraded oilsands production for May totalled 48.7-million barrels, down from just under 65-million barrels in April.

The massive wildfires forced producers to shut down crude operations as a precaution, with the full effects on production not yet known since many companies had operations halted well into June and even into July.

Non-oilsands production in Alberta, which escaped the effects of the fire, saw a slight increase in production to 15.2-million barrels of oil.

The impact of the wildfires is showing in quarter results, with Suncor Energy saying late Wednesday it had a net loss of $735 million after failing to produce about 20-million barrels of upgraded and raw bitumen because of the fires.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates the Fort McMurray wildfire to be the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history with about $3.58-billion in damages expected, though oil producers are largely excluded from insurance claims because most facilities weren’t damaged.



Oilsands production drops 25 per cent in May

  1. Instead of looking at the Fort McMurray fire as an example of the proof of climate change. We should perhaps look at it as we did the Slave Lake fire (which was arson) and learn some truths about boreal forests. The first being that they renew through fire. It isn’t wise to build within them but it is wise to have controlled burns such as the do in our national parks (sorry to share this information with all you who are environmentalists and don’t really want to accept this truth.). Trees die off and I have a large spruce in my front yard. It is about 50 years old. The arborist tells me it is acting just as it would in the wild. It has dead branches on one lower side, which he has cleaned out. It also had a double top. On a particularly windy day, one of the tips broke off and fell into the street. No one was harmed. I had a weeping birch that lived 50 years, an extra 10 then was expected due to watering an pruning from the same arborist. These trees die and become flammable. They be lit by a spark from a car; an ATV; a uncareful smoker. Yes, we had a super El Niño in the 2015 and the spring 2016 and we were dry. The conditions were ripe because we didn’t do any controlled burning but in the northwest part of province we had a big snow storm on the May long weekend on then rain came. It rained for 1/2 of July, making it up for drier than usual June and the crops are good throughout the province. The grass is rich and things look very promising for a great harvest. We have had an unusually cool summer in Alberta.

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