Graph showing production figures—both actual and projected—for crude oil in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. Regional production of both oil and natural gas has been and still is shut in from wildfires burning throughout Alberta and British Columbia.
Energy production in western Canada is slowly recuperating from wildfire disruptions across Alberta and British Columbia, despite a heightened state of emergency in Alberta due to hot and dry conditions that elicited new evacuation orders.
Fire danger has grown from very high to extreme throughout northern Alberta.
Some energy companies that had shut in production report having resumed operations; others have had to shut in production again after restarting; still others are evaluating conditions and waiting until it is safe to restart.
"The situation in Western Canada is fluid, with some companies returning facilities to service late last week while new infrastructure has been shut based on the anticipated spread of fires," a May 18 analyst note from East Daley Analytics says. It estimates that producers and midstream operators shut in more than 200,000 barrels per day of crude oil at the peak of disruptions. Natural gas receipts on the Nova Gas Transmission system in Alberta fell by 2.5 Bcf per day.
"Companies temporarily took offline at least five gas processing facilities and numerous pump stations during evacuations, dropping oil and gas production from Western Canada," the analyst note says. "Operators reporting cuts include Paramount Resources, Tamarack Valley Resources, Vermillion Energy, Cenovus, Tourmaline Oil, Kiwetinohk Energy, Pipestone Energy, and Crescent Point Energy."
Vermilion Energy Inc., which has operations in west-central Alberta, said in a May 15 news release that it restored about 60 percent of its production. It plans to bring the remaining curtailed production back on line "as soon as it is safe to do so."
Pembina Pipeline Corp.—which operates in Alberta and British Columbia, including areas subject to evacuation orders—reported on May 11 that all of its facilities have resumed operations.
Crescent Point Energy Corp., which operates in the Kaybob Duvernay area, was forced to shut in production after briefly resuming operations.
In a May 16 news release, the company said it is "temporarily shutting back-in the remainder of its 45,000 [barrels of oil equivalent per day] of production in the [Kaybob Duvernay] area as a precautionary measure due to changing wildfire conditions."
No damage has been reported to Crescent Point's assets, it said. It will restart production "once permitted to do so."
Paramount Resources Ltd. faced similar conditions, stating in a news release that "the third-party Wapiti natural gas processing facility and the Company's fields producing to the facility were again shut down on the afternoon of May 12. Approximately 45,000 Boe/d of production in the Grande Prairie and Kaybob Regions is now temporarily curtailed."
It added that there had been no significant damage or loss to its infrastructure or third-party infrastructure as of May 14.
Calgary-based Tourmaline Oil Corp. posted its last update May 10, saying seven of its nine facilities were operational. It has yet to state whether operations have resumed at West Wolf and Columbia.
As of the morning of May 19, the Province of Alberta reported 94 active wildfires, 25 of which were categorized as out of control.
The government said more than 2,500 firefighters are working in the province as of May 17, including mutual-aid responders from throughout Canada and the United States plus the Canadian Armed Forces.
The provincial government issued a special air-quality statement based on the persistent smoke.
Wildfires continue burning in British Columbia as well. The BC Wildfire Service reported 72 active fires on the morning of May 19. Of those, 22 were out of control.
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