Alberta Forest Fires Shut 9% of Canada’s Oil Sands Capacity

Alberta forest fires have prompted the shutdown of about 9 percent of Canada’s oil sands production.

Cenovus Energy Inc. closed its 130,000-barrel Foster Creek operations and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. shut its 80,000-barrel-a-day Primrose project after a forest fire broke out on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in northeastern Alberta, the companies said.

The shutdown curtails oil sands production at a time when the price for heavy Canadian crude has been at its strongest in five years. Western Canadian Select traded at an average discount to U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate of $8.66 a barrel this month, the smallest since 2010, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Canada will produce about 2.3 million barrels a day from its oil sands region this year, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. The Cold Lake fire is burning out of control and has burned about 4,000 hectares and claimed the life of a pilot that was fighting the blaze, according to Alberta’s Environment and Sustainable Development agency.

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