Canada Wildfires Trigger Evacuations and Disrupt Oil Production
- 12-May-2023 12:36 PM
- Journalist: Jacob Kutchner
Canada: As many as 109 wildfires are currently burning across the Canadian province of Alberta, with 30 of them being classified as out of control. Consequently, almost 30,000 residents have been evacuated, and the oil and Natural gas wells alongside pipeline systems have been closed. The situation has become quite grim, and the government has declared a provincial state of emergency. Residents of communities situated less than 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of the provincial capital, Edmonton, have been ordered to evacuate.
The ongoing fires in the region are hampering energy production, which constitutes a significant portion of Canada's Hydrocarbon exports. Many areas have been evacuated, including the Fox Creek community - a hub for light oil and gas drilling - where an evacuation order was issued on Sunday. In Grande Prairie, energy facilities and residents are also being evacuated due to the fires. The affected areas in 2021 are in the province's west, unlike the wildfires in 2016 that were concentrated in northeastern Alberta, leading to a shutdown of over 1 million barrels per day of oil sands production. The present wildfires are hitting regions where explorers drill into rock formations, including the Clearwater, Montney, and Duvernay. The area also contains gas processing plants and has pipelines running through it.
Paramount Resources Ltd. has taken pre-emptive measures and shut down around 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of production as of May 5. The decision was made owing to potential disruptions to third-party infrastructure and for precautionary reasons. As a result, the company's operations in the Grande Prairie and Kaybob regions are presently affected.
Meanwhile, TC Energy Corp., the pipeline operator, has informed that it has halted two compressor stations on its Nova Gas system located closest to active wildfires. The company stated in an email on Sunday that other portions of the system and other networks are operating safely. Necessary action is being taken to keep workers away from facilities near active blazes to ensure their safety.
Tidewater Midstream & Infrastructure Ltd. has closed its gas processing plant, the Brazeau River Complex, situated west of Edmonton and carried out an evacuation of all staff members, according to an email statement. Cenovus Energy Inc. has stopped operations in some sections and shut down a few facilities, as verified by a company representative. The Trans Mountain Pipeline, government-owned and the primary means of transporting Canadian crude oil to the Pacific coast, remains operational. However, the company has taken pre-emptive measures, such as deploying a sprinkler system at their Edson pump station and is prepared to implement additional security measures as required.
Tamarack Valley Energy Ltd. was compelled to shut down production of less than 300 barrels a day due to the wildfires causing the gas processing plants to stop functioning. The plants were operated by Tidewater and Keyera Corp. In addition, Pembina Pipeline Corp. has reported evacuating some workers located to the west of Edmonton.