Analysts Estimate Lost Oil Sands Production from Fort McMurray Wildfire to Surpass 30 Million Barrels

2016 Fort McMurray wildfire on May 1. By Jason Woodhead [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The lost oil sands production from the Fort McMurray wildfire could surpass 30 million barrels and cost the industry near $1.4 billion, Calgary-based analysts report.

The wildfire that broke out on May 1 forced some of the largest oil sands producers to shut down or halt operations while 80,000 Fort McMurray residents evacuated the area to escape the blaze. It has burned almost 5,900 square kilometers and, although no longer growing, is not yet completely under control by officials.

Although damage to the oil sands projects was minimal, restarting the operations is taking longer than anticipated. Analysts report there being pipeline clogging issues on some of the projects, possibly caused by the cooling and hardening of bitumen during the shutdown, which is making production flow in the pipeline difficult.

Analysts who estimate the industry’s production loss near $1.4 billion expect the number to grow.

Assuming no more shutdowns or evacuations occur from the ongoing fires, operations are expected to be back to normal by the end of July.

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