Syncrude responding to fire at upgrader at oilsands site in northern Alta

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Syncrude responding to fire at upgrader at oilsands site in northern Alta

One worker was injured in a fire at the Syncrude oil sand plant in northern Alberta on Tuesday, which emergency crews got under control roughly four hours after it started, a company spokesman said.

The site was also closed a year ago when giant forest fires ravaged the entire Fort McMurray area, forcing the evacuation of 100,000 people and numerous oil facilities.

Syncrude Canada posted a tweet explaining a fire broke out at the Mildred Lake Upgrader north of Fort McMurray.

Syncrude spokesman Will Gibson said while the consortium will assess the fire's impact on production, it's now not the main focus.

Syncrude has confirmed one employee was taken to hospital with injuries, and Alberta Health Services says they were in serious, but stable condition.

The company plans to do a complete damage assessment of the 350,000 barrel-per-day Mildred Lake upgrading facility and begin repairs once it is safe to do so, but has so far not given any estimate of the expected impact on crude output.

The province issued an air quality alert for the Fort McKay area that the fire and smoke could affect health and visibility.

"Because of that, we're restricting access to our site to authorized Syncrude personnel only".

There's no confirmation on how many people were working at the site when the fire broke out. Last May those firefighters battled to save the facility from uncontrolled wildfires that raged through the Fort McMurray oiltown region. On Tuesday, light synthetic crude for April delivery settled 80 cents per barrel over WTI.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said officers received a call about the fire at 2:15 p.m. and were at the scene along with other emergency services. The Alberta Energy Regulator has a team in the area, monitoring safety and environmental regulations.

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