UPDATE 1-Suncor ramping up operations after Canada wildfire

Sun May 29, 2016 5:13pm EDT
 
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(Recasts, adds comment from Suncor, background)

By Ethan Lou

TORONTO May 29 (Reuters) - Suncor Energy Inc's facilities north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, are expected to partially restart by the end of the week, the company said on Sunday, the latest sign Canadian oil sands producers are coming back online after a massive wildfire.

The start-up of Suncor's base plant and MacKay River sites is under way, with "initial production" expected by the end of the week, the company said in a statement, which noted initial production at its Firebag site began early last week.

A spokeswoman declined to specify the production volume expected as operations resume.

Bitumen capacities at Firebag and MacKay River are 203,000 and 38,000 barrels per day, respectively, and the base plant upgrader facility's capacity is 350,000 barrels a day, Suncor said.

Energy companies have begun restarting operations as the threat from the wildfire recedes. Fort McMurray itself still sits largely empty after its entire population of nearly 90,000 was evacuated earlier this month.

The wildfire, expected to be Canada's costliest natural disaster, cut Canadian oil output by a million barrels a day.

The inferno has charred more than 500,000 hectares (1,930 square miles) across the northern part of the province of Alberta and crossed into the neighboring province of Saskatchewan.   Continued...