Wildfires in Canada have caused disruption to life. Now, oil and gas are taking a big hit.


Damage to oil and gas production is likely to significantly exceed current figures, said Thomas Lyles, Rystad’s vice president of upstream research, in a note. Much of Alberta’s shale gas producing areas remained under “extreme” or “very high” wildfire warnings. Another 2.7 million barrels of oil sands production is also at risk.

Disruption from the fires in Canada, a major oil and gas producing country, helped push oil prices higher. Chevron said it had halted all production at the Caebope DuVernay oil and gas fields in central Alberta. Paramount said in its latest update Sunday that Paramount has temporarily shut down a natural gas processing plant along with production at several gas fields. Both companies said they prioritize the safety of their workers.

This is not the first time that oil and gas fields in Canada have been hit by fires, and the shutdown is, for the time being, affecting a small percentage of the country’s total oil and gas production. However, they underscore how oil and gas production, a major driver of climate change, is also vulnerable to the increasingly severe consequences of a warming planet.

As climate change intensifies, so will the risk of devastating wildfires starting around the world, according to the United Nations I warned in a landmark report last year. The researchers found that in areas with a long history of wildfires, such as the western United States and Canada, burning has become larger and more intense over the past decade.

The fires come amid a multi-year drought and warmer-than-usual temperatures in western Canada, which climate scientists attribute to climate change. And in recent years, Alberta has been affected by more climate-related disasters than almost any other part of the country, including severe flooding in 2013, a previous round of devastating wildfires in 2016 and thunderstorms that caused billions of dollars in damage in 2018.

Ryan Ness, director of adaptation research at the nonprofit Canadian Climate Institute, said that while it is difficult to say how much weather disasters will affect Canada’s oil and gas industry, the country can expect more shutdowns.

“Canada is in a difficult position as the oil and gas industry has been a very important part of our economy for a long time,” Mr. Nice said. “But the reality is, the world must shift away from fossil fuels and meet our greenhouse emissions targets, or else extreme weather types, wildfires, and the like will become unsustainable.”


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