UPDATE 2-Wildfire shuts down about 9 pct of Alberta crude output

Mon May 25, 2015 2:29pm EDT
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(Adds Cenovus comment, Imperial and Husky status)

By Nia Williams

CALGARY, Alberta May 25 (Reuters) - A wildfire raging in northeastern Alberta has shut down around 233,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production at three oil sands projects and is expected to remain out of control for "some while yet," a provincial government spokesman said on Monday.

Over the weekend, Cenovus Energy Inc and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd evacuated staff and halted output at two sites as a precaution against the rapidly spreading forest fire.

On Monday, CNRL said it also cut production at its nearby Kirby South thermal project to 12,000 bpd from around 30,000 bpd.

In total, roughly 9 percent of Alberta's crude output is offline as a result of the fire, with no clear indication of when production can resume.

The Alberta government's wildlife information officer, Geoffrey Driscoll, said the fire, which started on Friday, has grown to more than 8,000 hectares and is still out of control.

"With the warm weather, it's not going to be under control (on Monday) for sure, at least until we get some more firefighters and or we get some weather that helps cool down the area," Driscoll said.

Cenovus evacuated about 1,800 workers and shut down production at its Foster Creek oil sands site, situated on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range (CLAWR) about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) north of the wildfire.   Continued...