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 fire is currently burning about 25 kilometres south of Cenovus's Foster Creek facility. There has been no damage to the Foster Creek infrastructure at 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 and this 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 took significant teamwork and help from a number of outside 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 currently produces about 20 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of gas, most of which is used as fuel for Foster Creek.