Articles | Volume 18, issue 11
Research article
23 Nov 2018
Research article |  | 23 Nov 2018

Impact of wildfires on Canada's oil sands facilities

Nima Khakzad

Abstract. Exponential growth of oil and gas facilities in wildlands from one side and an anticipated increase of global warming from the other have exposed such facilities to an ever-increasing risk of wildfires. Extensive oil sands operations in Canadian wildlands, especially in the province of Alberta, along with the recent massive wildfires in the province, require the development of quantitative risk assessment (QRA) methodologies which are presently lacking in the context of wildfire-related technological accidents. The present study is an attempt to integrate Canadian online wildfire information systems with current QRA techniques in a dynamic risk assessment framework for wildfire-prone process plants. The developed framework can easily be customized to other process plants potentially exposed to wildfires worldwide, provided that the required wildfire information is available.

Short summary
The growing oil sands operations in Canada's wildlands on the one hand and an anticipated increase in the frequency of wildfires, due to global warming, on the other hand can jeopardize the safety and integrity of oil sands facilities. The present study aims to develop a methodology, based on the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System and quantitative risk assessment techniques, for assessing the impact of wildfires on wildland–industrial interfaces with an emphasis on oil sands facilities.
Final-revised paper