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Fort McMurray fire destroys oilsands camp, forces evacuation of thousands of workers as blaze continues to grow

Tar Sands Fort McMurray fire black-sands

This photo of Blacksand Executive Lodge was taken by a CBC News contact around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning. (Name withheld by request)

by Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post, May 17, 2016

CALGARY – The out-of-control wildfires in northern Alberta have forced a new wave of evacuations, by ground and by air, and delayed plans to restart oilsands productions at some projects, dealing another setback to the already hard-hit sector.

Suncor Energy Inc. spokesperson Sneh Seetal confirmed the company had begun airlifting employees to safety Tuesday after the fire had changed course Monday night, moved northward and forced the evacuation of its facilities and surrounding camps. Read the rest of this entry

Fires costing oilsands sector $70 million a day in lost revenue

Tar Sands Ft McMurray fire signGeoffrey Morgan, Financial Post, May 8, 2016

CALGARY —  As oilsands companies scramble to determine when they can start producing oil again in fire-ravaged northern Alberta, the industry is estimated to be losing $70 million every day that production is off line.

“There are a lot of fixed costs that don’t go away by just shutting in your production,” ARC Financial vice-president of energy research Jackie Forrest  said, pointing to employee salaries, and in some cases pre-paid diluent costs and fixed pipeline costs. Read the rest of this entry

Fort McMurray fires shut down even more oilsands facilities, knock one million barrels offline

APTOPIX Canada Wildfire

A wildfire moves towards the town of Anzac from Fort McMurray, Alberta., on Wednesday May 4, 2016 (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP).

Claudia Cattaneo and Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post, May 5, 2016

CALGARY — More oilsands companies have been forced to reduce or shut down production as the raging wildfire that started near Fort McMurray spreads south to new producing areas.

Meanwhile, oil companies poured their resources into the firefighting effort — from sheltering evacuees to helping with medical emergencies.

Suncor Energy Inc., Imperial Oil Ltd. and Athabasca Oil Corp. all announced production reductions or shut-downs late in the day Thursday in response to the growing fire, which is now estimated to have pushed more than 1 million barrels — close to 40 per cent — of oilsands production offline. Read the rest of this entry

Major oil sands producers scale back output as Fort McMurray wildfire rages

Fort McMurray fire: 1,600 properties destroyed, flareups expected

Tar Sands Ft McMurray fire sale

What is left of the community of Beacon Hill, Alta., is seen after wildfires devastated the area on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. (Chad Kruger / CTV News)

CTV News, May 4, 2016

More than 1,600 homes and buildings have been destroyed by raging wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta., and officials say they expect the fires to flare up again later this afternoon.

Temperatures in the northern Alberta town are expected to hit an unseasonably hot 30 degrees Celsius Wednesday afternoon, with no precipitation in the forecast.

When the winds pick up this afternoon, Chad Morrison, a senior manager with Alberta Wildfire Prevention & Enforcement says the fire will likely become unpredictable and difficult to control.

Read the rest of this entry

Oilsands work camps fill with fire evacuees

Tar Sands Ft McMurray fire houses

Fire and smoke loom over a Fort McMurray neighborhood on May 3, 2016. Mindy Francis/Facebook.

Canadian Press, May 3, 2016

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. – Oilsands work camps were being pressed into service Tuesday to house evacuees as a raging wildfire emptied the city of Fort McMurray.

“We’ve made our work camp available to staff and their families who have been evacuated and need a place to stay,” said Cameron Yost of Shell Canada.

“We are looking at getting non-essential people out by aircraft,” said Yost, who added Shell’s camp could accommodate hundreds of evacuees.

Read the rest of this entry

Wildfire destroys Fort McMurray homes, most of city evacuated

Tar Sands Ft McMurray fire 1

A wall of flames marches toward Highway 63 on Tuesday afternoon. (Terry Reith/CBC Edmonton )

Thousands of people are fleeing Fort McMurray as wildfire leaps highway and into city

CBC News, May 3, 2016

A huge wildfire raging in Fort McMurray, Alta., has burned homes in some neighbourhoods and residents fleeing the fire have caused gridlock on Highway 63 leading south out of the city.

Robin Smith, a spokesman for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, confirmed to CBC News that homes in Beacon Hill and the Centennial Trailer Park have been destroyed. Read the rest of this entry

Grand chief of Wolastoq council in New Brunswick says they’ll oppose risky pipeline

by APTN National News, February 5, 2016
FREDERICTON – The chief of the Wolastoq Grand Council in New Brunswick says the proposed Energy East pipeline project poses too great a risk to provincial waterways, and the council will oppose it.
Grand Chief Ron Tremblay says the council has called a news conference for Monday where clanmothers and other members of the council will discuss their responsibility to protect their non-ceded homeland. Read the rest of this entry

Alberta failing aboriginals in the oilsands area: unreleased report

Tar Sands aerial factory

Tar Sands factory complex in Alberta.

‘What Alberta said it would do and what it actually did are very different things,’ report says

By Bob Weber, The Canadian Press, Feb 2, 2016

The Alberta government’s attempt to balance competing interests in the oilsands region has failed to protect aboriginal
rights, lands and health from industrial development, says an unreleased report.

Instead, the document concludes the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, which came into force in 2012, has been used by both industry and government to erode traditional land use in favour of economic interests.

Read the rest of this entry

Pipeline reviews to include environmental regulations, First Nations consultations

Pipelines tar sands mapGraham Slaughter, CTV News, January 27, 2016

The Liberal government says it is “modernizing” the way Canada reviews pipelines and other resource projects, in a revamped process that considers future greenhouse gas emissions.

The new review process seeks to promote public transparency and provides funding for First Nations consultations.

The Wednesday announcement was described as a “transition step” before the Liberals establish a permanent set of rules. Read the rest of this entry

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