06/11/2015 10:40 EDT | Updated 06/11/2016 05:59 EDT

Cenovus, Canadian Natural oilsands operations back to normal following fires

CALGARY - It's back to business as usual at two oilsands projects in northeastern Alberta nearly three weeks after a nearby forest fire forced evacuations.

Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE) said normal operations have resumed at its Foster Creek project south of Fort McMurray, Alta., which is a 50-50 joint venture with ConocoPhillips.

Foster Creek's total output is now at about 135,000 barrels per day, its rate before it was shut down as a precaution.

Cenovus expects its second-quarter production average to be cut by about 10,500 barrels per day as a result of the outage.

To put that in perspective, total oil production across all of the company's operations averaged about 218,000 barrels a day during the first three months of this year.

Essential staff were able to return to Foster Creek on June 1 to inspect the site and to begin starting it up again.

Crews found no damage at Foster Creek and the company is assessing the costs of the evacuation and shutdown.

Meanwhile, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ) said its Primrose and Kirby South projects are back to normal, too.

Primrose output has reached about 80,000 barrels per day while Kirby South is now churning out about 25,000 barrels a day.

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