Two days after an encroaching wildfire prompted an evacuation and shutdown of Cenovus Energy’s oil production facility at Pelican Lake, the energy firm said it was in the process of resuming oil production there on Thursday.
“Essential staff returned to our Pelican Lake operations late yesterday and are now in the process of restarting oil production in a safe and orderly manner.,” the company said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
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READ MORE: Cenovus bringing essential workers back to Pelican Lake facility, says wildfire being held
According to Cenovus, the wildfire – which was first detected a kilometre away from its main complex Tuesday – continued to burn but was being held by firefighters working with Alberta Forestry.
At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the fire was reported to be about 75 hectares in size but was moving away from nearby oil facilities.
Cenovus said the air quality at its main Pelican Lake complex was at acceptable levels Thursday afternoon but said regular monitoring of air quality would continue.
The Calgary-based company did not say when production at the facility will return to normal levels.
READ MORE: Cenovus oil facility in Alberta shuts down over nearby Wabasca wildfire
Earlier this week, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL) had also temporarily stopped producing 800 barrels a day and moved non-essential personnel from the project’s northern camp.
On Thursday, CNRL said it has resumed normal operation at Pelican Lake.
“With the protection and safety of our people and assets as the utmost priority, Canadian Natural continues to closely monitor the wildfires in the Wabasca, Alberta region near our Pelican Lake operations,” a company statement said. “The wildfire remains a safe distance from our operations.”
Pelican Lake is about 400 kilometres southwest of Fort McMurray.