Operational update on wildfire outages • Monday May 23, 2016

Operational update on wildfire outages • Monday May 23, 2016

Mandatory evacuations for camps located near Suncor and Syncrude were lifted on Friday with most of the companies and camps getting ready to receive employees and restart operations. Highway 63 is now open to workers travelling operations located north of Fort McMurray only. The city remains closed to the public and there is no fuel north of Wandering River.

The fire remains about of control, estimated to be just over 500,000 hectares in size. The following is an update on the status of all the oil sands facilities operating around the Fort McMurray area as of Monday evening:


Enbridge • Athabasca Terminal: Crews are back on site carrying out inspections. Enbridge reported very minor damage to the terminal, located south the Suncor base plant operations. 
Enbridge & Keyera • Cheecham Terminal: Enbridge is reporting some of the pipelines in/out of of Cheecham are now operational and the terminal is slowly returning to normal operation. The Cheecham terminal collects product from the oil sands and is a critical piece of infrastructure. 
Inter Pipeline • Polaris Diluent Pipeline & Corridor Dilbit Pipeline: Reporting normal operation.
Pembina Pipelines • Horizon & Syncrude Crude Oil Pipelines: Reporting normal operation.
TransCanada • natural gas supply: Reporting normal operation.

OIL SANDS MINES NORTH OF FORT McMURRAY (in geographic order, closest to the city moving north)

Suncor • Base Mine & Upgrader • 300,000 bpd: Remains offline. The company is working towards a remobilization plan focused on bringing employees back to work on Monday May 23rd. Evacuation order was lifted over the weekend.
Syncrude • Mildred Lake Mine & Upgrader • 320,000 bpd : Remains offline. A minimum number of essential staff remain at the base plant operations. Evacuation order was lifted over the weekend. More details on restart of the facility should be provided this week.
ShellAlbian Sands Mine • 250,000 bpd: Restarted last Tuesday at reduced rates. Workers are flying into the Albian airstrip.
Syncrude • Aurora Mine: Production remains offline (production figures included in Mildred Lake's total). Aurora product is processed at Mildred Lake, which needs to be up and running before Aurora can be restarted. A minimum number of staff remain onsite at Aurora.
Suncor  • Fort Hills (under construction): Construction activities returned to normal at the site.
Imperial Oil • Kearl Mine • 200,000 bpd: Restarted on Thursday at reduced rates.
CNRLHorizon Mine & Upgrader • 130,000 bpd: Reporting normal operation.


Suncor • MacKay River • 35,000 bpd: Remains offline.
Suncor • Firebag • 200,000 bpd: Offline. Reuters reported the company was in the process of restarting the cogeneration plant. Now reduced to essential staff only. Plant placed on hot stand-by last Tuesday.
Husky •  Sunrise • 25,000 bpd: Initial reports has production reduced to 10,000 bbl/day due to lack of diluent. Other reports indicate the facility is now completely offline.

IN-SITU FACILITIES SOUTH OF FORT McMURRAY (in geographic order, closest to the city moving south)

Athabasca Oil • Hangingstone • 7,000 bpd: Officials are reporting steam production is back online and the facility is in the process of resuming production.
Nexen • Long Lake • 20,000 bpd: Offline
Jacos • Hangingstone • 5,000 bpd: Offline
ConocoPhillips • Surmont • 50,000 bpd: Offline. Staff plan on returning to site by the end of the week.
Connacher Oil & Gas • Great Divide • 4,000 bpd: Back to normal operation.
Statoil • Leismer • 20,000 bpd: Shutdown last Monday. Bloomberg is reporting the operation has restarted but lacks diluent.
MEG Energy • Christina Lake • 80,000 bpd: Reporting normal operation.
Cenovus • Christina Lake • 160,000 bpd: Reporting normal operation with good air quality. Highway 881 access is fully open.
Devon Energy • Jackfish • 125,000 bpd: Reporting normal operation.


The Nexen Long Lake facility and Athabasca Oil's Hangingstone operations were closest to the burn area and are reporting minor damage. Nexen has declared force majeure on all of its May production. However, the Nexen plant was running at minimum rates before the wildfires due to an upgrader explosion that occurred earlier in the year. Camps located in the area can begin phased re-entry of employees.

All operations further south including the Cenovus Foster Creek SAGD facility and thermal in-situ operations in the Cold Lake area are unaffected by the wildfires.

The Blacksand Executive Lodge located southwest of Suncor has been destroyed by fire. The lodge housed about 665 oil sands workers and is operated by Horizon North Logistics. No other camp or operations is reporting no damage. The city has lifted evacuation orders for all work camps so employees can return to work later in the week.

More details and interactive maps of each oil sands mining and thermal in-situ operations are located under the "Projects" menu header. Note that production capacities shown are average production rates before the wildfire disruptions (not nameplate capacity).

TOTAL ESTIMATED PRODUCTION OUTAGE: 1.1 million barrels per day

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo estimates 85-90% of the city remains intact, including all major infrastructure such as the airport, hospital and water treatment plant. The status of the city of Fort McMurray is as follows:

  • Northbound travel on Highway 881 and Highway 63 remains restricted with only essential services being allowed into Fort McMurray. The province of Alberta is reporting that workers headed to the camps north of the city are also allowed to pass through. Highway 63 northbound is closed for all other traffic at the junction of Highway 881 and 63. There is no fuel north of Wandering River.
  • The Fort McMurray airport remains close to commercial traffic. The airport will provide the next update on May 24.
  • A temporary medical centre has been set up in the town since the hospital is not yet operational. The hospital is expected to re-open on June 1st and be fully operational by June 15th.
  • The city of Fort McMurray remains under evacuation orders with only utility workers and essential staff allowed into town. 
  • ATCO is in the process of re-establishing power and natural gas to the city. Power has been restored to the undamaged areas of the city. ATC has set-up a new webpage for residents to check the status of their utility services.
  • The Alberta government has released new satellite imagery of the Fort McMurray area. Preliminary estimates are that 2,400 structures have been destroyed or severely damaged.
  • Phased re-entry of Fort McMurray residents is expected to begin June 1st assuming all safety conditions are met. 
  • The Municipality of Wood Buffalo has released a fire map so people can view the damage in their neighbourhoods.
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