Alberta wildfire threatens operations in oil sands region

2 companies have curbed activities to ensure worker safety

(Reuters) — The wildfire that raged unchecked on Wednesday in the city of Fort McMurray in the heart of the Canadian oil sands region has threatened oil company operations nearby.

While oil sands facilities are not in the fire's path, at least two companies have curbed activities to allow workers and others to get to safety. It was unclear what percentage of production had been affected by the fire.

Following is a list of what companies have said about nearby operations.

- Suncor Energy, whose oil sands operations are closest to the city, said its main plant 25 km (16 miles) to the north was safe, but it was reducing crude production in the region to allow employees and families to get to safety.

- Royal Dutch Shell CFO Simon Henry told reporters on a conference call that one of the company's oil sands mines was closed, and another was in the process of closing down.

- Canadian Natural Resources said it was working to ensure that any affected CNRL workers and their families could use its camps.

- Representatives of Syncrude, owned by a consortium of companies, CNOOC subsidiary Nexen Energy and pipeline company Enbridge all said their operations were unaffected.

- Athabasca Oil, which operates a thermal plant south of the city, where the fire was located, said it has not been affected by the wildfire.

- A Cenovus spokesman said its oil sands operations are not affected by the fires, and output remained steady.

- Imperial's Kearl operation, located about 70 km north of Fort McMurray, is not seeing any direct impact "at this time," said a spokeswoman for the company, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil. "We continue to monitor the situation closely," she said.

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