Fire breaks out at Murphy Oil battery in northwestern Alberta

No injuries have been reported; plant has been shut in.

January 29, 2013
by The Canadian Press

PEACE RIVER, Alta.—Officials are working to extinguish a fire at a small heavy oil battery in northern Alberta.

Barry Jeffrey of Murphy Oil says there have been no injuries and the plant 120 kilometres east of Peace River has been shut in.

He says the battery’s three crew have been evacuated, regulatory authorities have been notified and the company’s emergency response plan has been evacuated.

The fire broke out at 2:30 p.m. on Monday.

He says Calgary-based Murphy immediately brought in a team of oilfield experts who are on scene with the local fire department.

He says the cause of the fire isn’t yet known.

“Until we get the fire fully extinguished and we get in there in daylight to really see what happened, it would be premature to speculate on what happened,” he said.

Jeffrey says the battery is in a remote location that isn’t near any communities. He explains what function it serves.

“Oil comes in from oil wells and you’ve got a central location, and that’s where you would treat the oil if you have to remove any water that’s part of the oil before the oil’s ready to go on to sale.”

Bob Curran of Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board confirmed the agency was notified about the blaze on Monday afternoon.

©The Canadian Press