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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery lost 25 cents to $53.25 on the New York Merc, while Brent for August lost 71 cents to $61.28 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $15.15 to WTI, up from a discount of $16.60. Natural gas for July lost five cents to $2.40. The TSX energy index lost 1.94 points to close at 140.53.
Alberta wildfire season is here. The first major fire-related shut-in of the year is in progress, with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ: $35.77) announcing Friday evening that it has evacuated its Pelican Lake and Woodenhouse oil sands operations in Northern Alberta. The decision will affect roughly 65,000 barrels a day of production, as well as 240 employees. Longer-term employees will be no stranger to the process, as these operations have experienced fire-related shut-ins before, mostly recently in 2016 due to a fire near Pelican Lake. (Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE: $10.85) also owned operations at Pelican Lake at that time, but sold them to Canadian Natural in 2017.) That particular fire was separate from the infamous Fort McMurray fire of 2016, which raged out of control for two months and caused $9.9-billion in damages, making it the costliest disaster in Canadian history. It forced the evacuation of around 90,000 people and prompted oil sands producers to shut in about one million barrels a day. So far this year, oil sands operations have been relatively unscathed by fires, but mandatory evacuation orders are affecting over 6,000 people in northwestern Alberta, with thousands more under evacuation alerts.
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