Cenovus Energy Inc. has safely evacuated all staff from its Foster Creek oil sands and Athabasca natural gas operations and shut down production as a precaution due to a forest fire on the Cold Lake
Air Weapons Range (CLAWR) in northeastern Alberta.The forest fireis currently burning about 25 kilometres south of Cenovus’s Foster Creek facility. There has been no damage to the Foster Creek infrastructureat this time.
The decision to send staff home and shut down production on May 23 was primarily made because of the fire’s proximity to the only access road to the facilities. “The safety of staff is our first priority andthis was a massive coordinated effort that got 1,800 people off our site safely and quickly,” said John Brannan, Cenovus Executive Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer. “It to ok significant teamwork and help from a number ofoutside organizations and I would like to thank everyone involved.” Foster Creek, which is jointly owned with ConocoPhillips, has current average daily production of approximately 67,500 barrels per day (bbls/d) net to Cenovus (135,000 bbls/d gross).
Total oil production across all of Cenovus’s assets averaged about 218,000 bbls/d net in the first quarter of
2015. The Athabasca natural gas operation currentlyproduces about 20 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of gas,most of which is used as fuel for Foster Creek.The facilities wereshut down in a safe and orderly manner. The restart of the facility will be entirely dependent on the status of the forest fire.Once the fire is under control and it is deemed safe to return tosite, operations will resume as soon as possible.