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Cenovus Restarts Oil Production Shut Down By Wildfires

Cenovus Energy has restarted some 62,000 bpd of daily crude oil production following a temporary shutdown caused by the wildfires in Alberta.

The company shut down a total of 85,000 bpd of production because of the wildfires last month, along with many other oil sands producers. The remainder should be back online within a week to ten days, according to the company.

Cenovus said it would need to wait for the reconstruction of power infrastructure in the area of the affected production that remains offline.

The wildfires that set Alberta aflame last month caused the shutdown of more than 300,000 barrels of oil in daily production in Canada’s oil heartland. The emergency caused oil prices to jump at the time.

The shut-down production accounted for almost 4% of Canada’s total oil output and prompted Alberta to declare a state of emergency in early May. Processing plants were also shut down because of the fires. Natural gas production also dropped because of the shutdowns, affecting exports to the United States.

By mid-May the wildfires began to subside and oil sands operators started reopening shut-down production.

“Assuming the current wildfire conditions continue, Rainbow Lake operations are expected to return to production within seven to 10 days, which represents approximately 20,000 BOE/d,” Cenovus said in an update late on Monday. “About 3,000 BOE/d remains offline awaiting power infrastructure to be rebuilt in various remote locations,” the company added.

Cenovus added that no major damage to its operations has been found by staff returning to the production sites and that it would continue to monitor the situation.

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Cenovus is one of the largest oil sands operators in Canada. At the release of its first-quarter performance figures the company lowered its production guidance for the year after posting a lower than expected net profit for the three-month period.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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