According to a recent article in the Globe and Mail, the raging wildfires in northern Alberta continue to wreak havoc on oil sands producers. An estimated 4,000 to 8,000 people were evacuated from work camps in Alberta’s north as of Tuesday morning, and many other facilities are on high alert as the fire grows closer.
With the fire now estimated to be 15 to 20km from its base plant operations, Suncor Energy has moved workers further north from areas under threat and, as a precautionary measure, has begun a shut down until it’s safe to restart.
Workers at the Syncrude oil sands operation were evacuated to Edmonton on Monday; about 100 remain onsite with evacuation plan secure should the situation change.
Many facilities, such as the Shell Jackpine and Muskeg River mines, have been able to continue production at reduced rates and continue to monitor the situation to ensure workers can be evacuated safely, if required.
The reduction in output from the fires, in addition to other global supply disruptions, have helped to lift the price of crude. While the reduced production has resulted in lost real GDP for Alberta to the tune of around $985-million (CDN), “over all, the net effect on the provincial economy is expected to be relatively minor, taking about 1 percentage point out of real GDP growth in Alberta in the second quarter,” says a report from the Conference Board of Canada.