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The still raging wildfires that have taken some production offline in Canada’s oil sands region of Alberta have helped push oil prices up slightly today.
In early-morning trading, West Texas Intermediate was up 4.1 percent to $45.58 per barrel. Brent crude was up 2.6 percent to $45.75 per barrel.
Also, yesterday’s news of an unexpected build in U.S. crude oil stockpiles did not negatively affect oil prices. Oil at least held steady after the news.
Exxon Mobil was up almost 1 percent and Chevron added 1.6 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported this morning.
Yesterday, one major oil sands operation and a pipeline were shut down due to the fire, and others have cut back production.
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The Corridor pipeline, run by Inter Pipeline, has shut down and normally transports some one-third of Alberta’s production. Enbridge has also shut down its feeder pipeline operations.
Suncor Energy’s operations are only 25 kilometers north of the wildfire and the company has shut down its main oil sands mine at Millennium and North Steepbank, which produce 320,000 bpd. The wildfire has not yet reached this area, and the shut-down is a safety precaution.
Syncrude Canada has cut staff and reduced capacity, while Shell has completely shut down its Muskeg River and Jackpine mines, which produce 225,000 bpd.
The wildfire, which started in the Alberta city of Fort McMurray, has now spread further south, forcing more evacuations. Officials say the wildfire in the oil sands heartland has grown five times its initial size.
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So far, more than 88,000 people have been evacuated, but those already evacuated are now reportedly being force to re-locate one again to do the spreading fire. Some 1,600 homes have apparently been burned to the ground.
According to Fox News, around 10,000 evacuees who had been moved yesterday into outlying oil worker camps will have to evacuated those camps as well as the fire spreads.
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com