Cenovus evacuates oil sands project due to nearby forest fire

Sun May 24, 2015 9:51am EDT
 
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May 24 (Reuters) - Cenovus Energy Inc has evacuated about 1,800 workers and shut down production at its Foster Creek oil sands site in Alberta as a precaution because of a nearby forest fire, the company said.

"Most of these were construction contractors. We won't be able to return to the site until fire officials deem it safe," Reg Curren, a spokesman for Cenovus Energy, said in an e-mail early on Sunday.

The company had said on Saturday that the fire was about 30 kilometers (18.64 miles) south of the facilities and had shut the only access road to the operations.

Production at Foster Creek, which is jointly owned with ConocoPhillips, was averaging about 135,000 barrels per day, with the output split between the two companies, Curren said.

Separately, CBC reported Canadian Natural Resources Ltd has also evacuated their facilities within the Cold Lake Air Weapons range due to a nearby fire. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Greg Mahlich)