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‘Perfect storm’ puts crude oil production at lowest point in almost 2 years

The Suncor refinery in Edmonton.
The Suncor Refinery in Edmonton is seen on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

CALGARY – A report by Barclays says Canada’s crude oil production last month is estimated to be the lowest it has been in almost two years.

While companies have yet to release production numbers, the British bank says a “perfect storm” of events including wildfires and upgrader maintenance in Alberta are expected to have cut average national production to 3.98 million barrels of oil a day in May after peaking at an average of 4.59 million barrels a day in January.

The report says Royal Dutch Shell, Canadian Oil Sands and Suncor Energy are thought to be conducting or have already completed multi-week turnarounds at upgraders, removing some production.

On May 23, a wildfire near Cold Lake in Alberta shut down an estimated 233,000 barrels a day of production from Cenovus Energy’s Foster Creek project and Canadian Natural Resources’ Primrose and Kirby South operations.

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As of Monday that production was still offline, with the fire spanning 31,000 hectares and still classified as out of control.

The risk of news fires starting in the area has, however, been downgraded from extreme to moderate.

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