Wildfires force evacuations in Western Canada, cut oil, gas output

Wildfires burning across Alberta have prompted the evacuation of almost 30,000 residents and the shutdown of oil and natural gas wells and pipeline systems.

A total of 109 blazes were burning as of late Sunday, 30 of which were classified as out of control, and a provincial state of emergency has been declared.

The fires are affecting energy production in the region

Crescent Point Energy Corp. has shut in 45,000 bbls/d of production in the Kaybob Duvernay region, though the company said it has seen no damage to its assets. Vermilion Energy Inc. temporarily shut 30,000 bbls/d of production. “Our assessment to date indicates minimal damage to our key infrastructure,” the Calgary-based company said in a statement.

Evacuation orders have been issued for several communities.

One community under evacuation order as of Sunday was Fox Creek, a major centre for light oil and gas drillers. Energy facilities were also being evacuated in Grande Prairie along with local residents, provincial officials said.

Paramount Resources Ltd. has shut about 50,000 boe/d of production as of May 5 as a precaution and because of disruptions to third-party infrastructure, the company said Sunday. Its operations in the Grande Prairie and Kaybob regions are being affected.

Pipeline operator TC Energy Corporation halted two compressor stations on its Nova Gas system nearest to active wildfires, the company said in an email Sunday. Other sections of the system and other networks continue to operate safely. The company is keeping workers away from facilities near active blazes unless necessary.

Tidewater Midstream & Infrastructure Ltd. shut its Brazeau River Complex, a gas processing facility, west of Edmonton and evacuated all personnel, the company said in an email. Cenovus Energy Inc. has shut down some production and halted plants in some areas, a company spokesperson said.

The government-owned Trans Mountain Pipeline, the sole link carrying Canadian crude to the Pacific coast, is still in operation but the company has deployed mitigation measures, including a perimeter sprinkler system at its Edson pump station, and is ready to deploy additional protection measures if needed, the company said. 

Tamarack Valley Energy Ltd. had to shut in less than 300 barrels a day of production after the gas processing plants operated by Tidewater and another run by Keyera Corp. went out of operation due to the blazes, CEO Brian Schmidt said by phone. Pembina Pipeline Corp. also said it evacuated some workers west of Edmonton. 

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

Dear user, please be aware that we use cookies to help users navigate our website content and to help us understand how we can improve the user experience. If you have ideas for how we can improve our services, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to email us. By continuing to browse you agree to our use of cookies. Please see our Privacy & Cookie Usage Policy to learn more.