​Canadian Natural cuts oilsands mining forecast following fire at Scotford Upgrader

Aerial view of the Scotford Complex near Edmonton. Image: Shell

CALGARY — Canadian Natural Resources Limited is cutting production expectations as damage is repaired from a fire at the Scotford Upgrader northeast of Edmonton two weeks ago.

The Calgary-based oilsands producer owns 70 per cent of the facility, which is operated by Shell Canada.

Canadian Natural says it expects average production at the northern Alberta Albian oilsands mines — which supply raw bitumen feedstock for the upgrader to turn into synthetic crude oil — to be reduced to about 245,000 barrels per day in May and June.

That's down from a projected 255,000 bbls/d, which had already been affected by Alberta's government-ordered oil curtailment program.

Canadian Natural says the fire was contained in a process furnace at the north upgrader, which can process about 100,000 bbls/d, but the cause and timing of repairs are still under investigation.

It says the south upgrader was unaffected and is able to continue to produce a restricted volume of about 200,000 bbls/d of synthetic crude this month. No one was injured in the fire which began as the upgrader was about to enter a 38-day planned maintenance program.

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