Norwegian oil company Statoil has cut oil production at its controversial oil sands project in Alberta, Canada because of the massive forest fire raging in the nearby area. More than 80,000 people have been evacuted from the closest city, Fort McMurray, as the fire remained out of control.
A Statoil spokesman told TV2 that its oil sands operations aren’t directly affected so far, but the terminal used to transport the oil extracted from Alberta’s tar sands is closed. “Therefore that affects us,” Knut Rostad of Statoil told TV2.
He added that only a skeleton crew of “absolutely necessary” personnel were on duty at the site. Most others have been forced to flee their homes, often in massive convoys of vehicles escorted by police. Some have also been evacuated via helicopter, as one neighbourhood after another is engulfed in flames.
The fire has hit Canada’s oil industry hard, after it already was reeling from low oil prices. The lack of Canadian oil was cited as a reason oil prices rose to as high as USD 46 a barrel late last week.