In this week’s news update, Dakota Access asks permission to start work on the pipeline route across Iowa, and production and pipeline companies halt activities near Fort McMurray.

The wildfire that raged near Fort McMurray in Alberta knocked out as much as one-third of Canada’s daily crude capacity and closed some pipelines, according to Reuters news service.

Several production companies and two pipeline operators have stopped activities to move workers and others to safer areas.

At least 680,000 barrels per day of capacity were offline on Thursday, Reuters says. There was no timeline for when energy companies would be able to restart operations.

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Rig Count Drops by 5
The number of rigs seeking oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped by five last week to 415, in data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes on May 6.

The Houston-based company says that 338 rigs sought oil and 86 explored for natural gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 894 rigs were active.

Oklahoma declined by three rigs, while Louisiana was down two. Alaska, Colorado, North Dakota and Ohio each fell by one. Texas gained three rigs and Utah was up one.

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Arkansas, California, Kansas, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, West Virginia and Wyoming were all unchanged.

Dakota Access Looks to Start Work on Pipeline
A Texas company has asked Iowa regulators for permission to immediately start work on most of the Dakota Access pipeline route through 18 Iowa counties.

Dakota Access said in a filing May 5 that work must begin this month to complete the project in one construction season. Pipeline opponents say they will fight the request, according to a story in the Des Moines Register.

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The Iowa Utilities Board approved the pipeline plans, but said construction can’t begin until federal permits are approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Dakota Access says it wants to begin work except in areas where preconstruction notification is required.

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