Varcoe: 'All fingers on deck' as oilpatch closes services, shuts in manufacturing amid wildfire disaster

Over the weekend and on Monday, a collection of oil and pure gasoline producers introduced they’ve shut in output from varied websites throughout central and northern Alberta

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The wildfires that triggered the evacuation of practically 30,000 Albertans from their properties over the weekend additionally left Canadian petroleum producers hustling to shut down services, relocate employees to security and shut in 1000’s of barrels of oil and gasoline manufacturing.

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Over the weekend and on Monday, a collection of oil and pure gasoline producers — together with Cenovus Power, Tourmaline Oil Corp., Vermilion Power, Crescent Level Power, NuVista Power and Paramount Assets — introduced they’ve shut in output from varied websites throughout central and northern Alberta.

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There have been 90 energetic wildfires in Alberta as of Monday afternoon, together with 25 deemed uncontrolled, whereas 29,000 individuals have been evacuated from their properties, the provincial authorities reported.

Over the weekend, petroleum producers curtailed output and halted drilling in some areas because of issues surrounding the wildfires, though rain and cooler climate have been serving to the scenario on Monday.

“It’s nonetheless a severe scenario. We’ve acquired three rigs right here which have been evacuated and 4 rigs on standby, and we’re monitoring the scenario,” Ensign Power Companies president Bob Geddes mentioned in an interview.

“On Saturday, we had three of the crews — three of the rigs — the place forestry (officers) got here in and advised us, ‘Hey guys, it’s time to get out.’ ”

Ensign’s rigs have been drilling within the Brazeau County and Edson areas, areas the place necessary evacuation orders had been issued, though they have been lifted for the city of Edson on Monday morning.

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“A few of the fires acquired very near the rigs . . . There have been some perimeter camps and well-site shacks which have been burned, however nothing on the rigs,” Geddes added.

“Issues appear to be settling down a bit of bit. As you realize, it will probably change. However it’s cooler on the market and it’s not as windy.”

The vitality trade, like municipal and provincial governments, does have expertise coping with weather-related emergencies, together with the 2013 floods in southern Alberta and the Could 2016 wildfires within the Fort McMurray space. These fires led to as much as a million barrels per day of oilsands output being taken off-line at one level.

The 2023 fires are affecting manufacturing within the Montney and Duvernay areas, in addition to some standard oil and gasoline websites within the province.

Kiwetinohk Power mentioned it safely shut within the majority of its Placid operations close to Fox Creek because of downstream third-party interruptions.

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“As an oil and gasoline firm, you delight your self on having sturdy emergency response protocols. We observe quite a lot of various kinds of response situations,” mentioned firm chief working officer Mike Backus.

NuVista Power mentioned Monday it quickly shut in about 40,000 barrels per day as a result of wildfires within the Grande Prairie area as a precautionary step, and it was broadened by the shut-in of third-party infrastructure that serves its operations.

Cenovus reported it curtailed numerous standard fields and processing crops, affecting about 85,000 boe per day, primarily gasoline produced from its Rainbow Lake, Kaybob-Edson, Elmworth-Wapiti and Clearwater working areas.

Crescent Level Power introduced it shut in about 45,000 boe per day within the Kaybob Duvernay space as a precaution.

And Tourmaline Oil Corp. mentioned employees and their households have been evacuated from operated services and houses within the Edson space, as the corporate shut 9 gasoline processing services on Friday and Saturday. The Calgary-based producer isn’t conscious of any injury to its services.

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“It’s an hour-by-hour course of. We now have been capable of regain entry to some, even at present, but it surely’s clearly a really dynamic scenario,” Jamie Heard, Tourmaline’s supervisor of capital markets, mentioned Monday.

“We’re hopeful the climate circumstances at present and (Tuesday) enable the fireplace professionals within the areas to make some headway.”

Grande Prairie wildfire
A wildfire burns a piece of forest within the Grande Prairie district of Alberta in a Could 6, 2023 handout picture. Picture by Authorities of Alberta Hearth Service /The Canadian Press/HO

Paramount Assets mentioned it quickly curtailed about 50,000 boe of manufacturing within the Kaybob and Grande Prairie areas, and evacuated all affected personnel, whereas Vermilion Power shut in about 30,000 boe per day at its west central Alberta operations.

Whitecap Assets CEO Grant Fagerheim mentioned the corporate is assessing the impact of the fires on its operations in central and northern Alberta and northeast British Columbia, noting some manufacturing was affected by interruptions to third-party processors, though some output has since come again.

“Beginning on Friday, it’s been all fingers on deck,” Fagerheim mentioned in an interview.

“Our area superintendents have been operating round and, frankly, getting drained. They’re working 20-hour shifts, simply ensuring everyone seems to be secure and wholesome.”

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TC Power mentioned Monday that it shut down two compressor stations on the Nova Fuel Transmission Ltd. system close to the wildfires in western Alberta.

In whole, western Canadian gasoline manufacturing has fallen by about two billion cubic ft (bcf) per day since Thursday to about 15.5 bcf, mentioned Martin King, senior analyst with RBN Power in Calgary.

“That’s a bit of bit greater than 10 per cent of the manufacturing of the basin that has been impacted by the fireplace and the shut-ins. That’s a reasonably sizable quantity,” King mentioned.

“We haven’t seen a variety of large influence on value but, and that’s primarily as a result of demand is simply usually delicate elsewhere in North America and there’s a lot of gasoline in storage . . . It would actually depend upon how lengthy it lasts.”

Chris Varcoe is a Calgary Herald columnist.

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Artists to lose house when Artpoint Gallery closes after 30 years to make means for Inexperienced Line LRT

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Over the following three weeks, Christine Wignall hopes to empty her studio of its many inhabitants.

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The 79-year-old Calgary artist will likely be holding blow-out gross sales of her work – a whole lot of principally clay figurine sculptures of assorted sizes – over the following three weekends. That features her fashionable “bathers” sequence, cheerful nude figures which have grow to be fashionable in Calgary. On April 15-16 and April 22-23, she will likely be promoting her work at half-price. Within the remaining weekend of April, she will likely be providing her work on a pay-what-you-can foundation. The cash will go in the direction of a scholarship for younger artists.

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Wignall will not be formally retiring. However after 30 years because the anchor tenant at Artpoint Gallery and Studios, she has been informed she has to vacate the constructing by the tip of October. Based on a press release from the Metropolis of Calgary’s actual property staff, the town is ending its lease with the Artpoint Society in December to “keep away from any danger of delay or different potential impacts because of Inexperienced Line building.”

The transit mission, which will in the end stretch 46 kilometres from one hundred and sixtieth Avenue within the north to Seton within the metropolis’s far south, will run straight beside the place the gallery now sits behind the CPR tracks in Ramsay.

The Artpoint Gallery in southeast Calgary will close due to the Green Line and Ramsay station being planned for that area. Jim Wells/Postmedia
The Artpoint Gallery in southeast Calgary will shut because of the Inexperienced Line and Ramsay station being deliberate for that space. Jim Wells/Postmedia Jim Wells/Postmedia

Wignall stated she and the opposite 17 tenants who lease studio house have been informed in December that the lease would solely be prolonged for an additional 12 months. One other 18 to twenty artists belong to the society and exhibit their artwork within the house.

“We’ve simply began to significantly search for new house now as a result of, after all, individuals wish to keep right here so long as they will,” Wignall says. “It’s a great spot. It has parking. It has all these gallery areas to point out your work. Plus the lease could be very affordable right here. Everyone knows that we’re most unlikely to seek out anyplace that’s going to be anyplace near the worth that this constructing has been with all of the facilities it has.”

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However it’s not nearly dropping the house. Wignall says the gallery has helped kind a “cohesive and great neighborhood of artists that we’ve been working with for years.”

“We positively have a neighborhood going right here,” she says. “We normally have a gap as soon as a month, which supplies individuals an opportunity to socialize and get along with the opposite artists and different individuals from the humanities neighborhood.”

Based on the assertion from the Metropolis of Calgary, “administration has been in discussions with Artpoint over the previous variety of years.”

Nonetheless, Wignall says the closure will likely be a significant jolt to the artists and the creative neighborhood of Ramsay and Inglewood. She has been an expert artist for many of her life. However, in 2000, not lengthy earlier than she turned 60, she and her husband and fellow artist Trevor determined to review artwork full-time at Alberta School of Artwork + Design (now Alberta College of the Arts). Their training included a year-long stint in Spain on the College of Valencia, the place Wignall switched her focus from stained-glass home windows and silver jewellery to the human figures which have grow to be her signature.

Artwork belonging to artist Christine Wignall on display at ArtPoint in Calgary. Jim Wells/Postmedia
Art work belonging to artist Christine Wignall on show at ArtPoint in Calgary. Jim Wells/Postmedia Jim Wells/Postmedia

In 2018, she created One Hundred Heads, which have been life-size, clay busts as a part of the Whyte Museum’s fiftieth Anniversary celebrations.  Utilizing her childhood recollections, Wignall created the work based mostly on individuals who would have been strolling the streets of Banff in 1968. She additionally led an academic mission with the Exshaw College and college students from Morley that had contributors finding out their household bushes and sculpting Nakoda ancestors. The mission received a Governor Normal’s Award. 

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“I’m 80 years outdated, or will likely be in November, and I’ve been working as an artist most of my life,” Wignall says. “However, at this level, to should get my act collectively and transfer 30 years’ value of labor is a significant upheaval for me.”

Patti Pon, president and CEO of Calgary Arts Improvement (CADA), stated her group is prepared to assist the artists who will likely be displaced discover new house. The group doesn’t have its personal house to lease, however will act as a “facilitator, connector, amplifier” to place artists in contact with landowners or organizations which have house. The group cSpace, an arts hub and incubator, has a program referred to as The In the meantime Lease which appears to persuade landlords to lease empty downtown locations to artists at inexpensive charges. CADA can be in contact with the Constructing Homeowners and Managers Affiliation of Calgary and different landlords who’re supportive of the humanities to “allow them to know the presence of artists in communities “whether or not it’s an workplace constructing or a neighborhood centre out within the deep north or south is an efficient factor.”

“I believe, notably within the downtown, there’s an actual alternative for us to attempt to discover nice house for artists locally,” Pon says. “The extra artists we hear from, the higher the case is from me once I go to these landlords or I am going to cSpace and say ‘Look, there’s a ton of demand right here and relatively than preserving your constructing closed, you possibly can really be making some lease and serving to contribute to these utilities price that you need to preserve and produce some vitality and vitality to the constructing.”

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That stated, Pon understands {that a} long-term neighborhood of artists corresponding to those that have labored at Artpoint isn’t simply replaceable.

“Change is at all times tough and I’m not suggesting for a second that this can be a good factor or a nasty factor,” she says. “It’s change. Goodness is aware of, that if now we have all discovered something within the final three years it’s that the inevitability of change has actually come dwelling for all of us in our personal means. It’s not straightforward and it’s not easy and I positively really feel for that neighborhood of Artpoint that has constructed such a beautiful presence. That being stated, they’re artists and if ever there was a bunch of people that can construct neighborhood, new neighborhood, it’s artists. So whereas the lack of Artspoint in that location and that kind is gloomy, I’m excited on the prospect of what is going to come for these exact same artists who will discover a solution to specific no matter it’s they should share by way of their observe.”

Artwork belonging to artist Christine Wignall is shown on display at ArtPoint in Calgary. Jim Wells/Postmedia
Art work belonging to artist Christine Wignall is proven on show at ArtPoint in Calgary. Jim Wells/Postmedia Jim Wells/Postmedia

Wignall plans to take care of the neighborhood spirit at Artpoint till the tip. Three years in the past, her husband Trevor died and he or she determined to carry an exhibit and sale of his work relatively than a funeral. It raised greater than $10,000 for a future scholarship fund, which can seemingly be for his or her outdated alma mater.

Over the following three weekends, Wignall hopes to dump as a lot of her work as doable on the gallery, with all proceeds going in the direction of the identical scholarship.

Whereas she intends to maintain working as an artist, she sees this as the tip of her profession in sculpture.

“I’m going to do one thing completely different, I believe,” she says.

Wignall will likely be promoting her work April 15-16, April 22-23 and April 29-30 throughout studio hours from 12 to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Name 403 850-1561 for extra info.

With information from Invoice Kaufmann, Postmedia

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