Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Syncrude prices gain as wildfires in Canada shut in crude output

CALGARY, Alta. - The premium for Canadian syncrude rose as fires in northern Alberta forced crude oil producers to shut output and Plains All American Pipeline LP to close a pipeline section.

As of early May 16, 116 wildfires were burning in Alberta, 39 of them out of control, the provincial government said. A total of 206 square miles had been burned by then.

Warm, dry and windy conditions were fueling the blazes, which were cutting a swathe across central Alberta.

The government deployed 1,000 firefighters, 100 helicopters and 20 water bombers to battle the blazes. In addition, 200 more firefighters were expected to arrive from other Canadian provinces.

Cenovus Energy Inc. said it expected to suspend production at a large oil field in northern Alberta on May 16 due to the wildfires. Cenovus said 22,000 b/d of production at its Pelican Lake site would remain shut. A company spokeswoman said it had sufficient storage to keep producing until May 17.

Exall Energy Corp. shut its Marten Mountain plant which produces 1,750 barrels per day, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

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