Courtesy Alberta RCMP/Handout via REUTERS More By Nia Williams CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Northern Alberta's oil sands producers and communities are stepping up preparations for wildfire season to avoid a repeat of last year's devastating blaze that shut in more than a quarter of Canadian crude output and left thousands homeless. The May 2016 fire ripped through the oil sands hub of Fort McMurray, destroying 10 percent of homes in the remote city of 88,000 people and shutting in more than a million barrels of crude production. The region saw another mild winter, similar to the previous one, but has had a wetter fall and spring which should reduce the wildfire risk. Still, Fort McMurray has added eight new firefighters and begun fire-prevention measures like preemptively burning off vegetation that could fuel fires. "Burning light fuels like dry grass started a month earlier than normal (this year)," said fire captain Damian Asher, who lost his home in the 2016 blaze. Companies operating around Fort McMurray including Suncor Energy, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd and Royal Dutch Shell cut production for weeks because of the fire threat last year, dealing a heavy blow to revenues. With crude prices hovering around $50 a barrel, the high-cost oil sands sector, which has seen an exodus of international investment in recent months, can ill afford more lengthy shut-ins. Nearly all the projects are surrounded by dense boreal forest that provided ample fuel for last year's blaze. Canadian Natural and Husky Energy said they have enhanced firebreaks at their respective 172,000 barrel-per-day Horizon and 34,000-bpd Sunrise sites by cutting back surrounding vegetation. Cenovus Energy, in the process of acquiring total ownership of its 200,000 bpd Christina Lake and 160,000 bpd Foster Creek projects from ConocoPhillips, said it has always kept a clear perimeter of 10 to 30 meters around its operations. (check this out) This year, its emergency response plan includes getting firefighters on scene faster by increasing the number of people on-call in its corporate center Calgary and in the oil sands. Cenovus has also given staff extra training on evacuations and put new operating procedures in place to improve communication during wildfires, spokesman Reg Curren said.
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MusclePharm harbors existing partnerships with other world-class sporting organizations, including New Zealand's premier rugby outfit and current Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes. Under the terms of this latest agreement, MusclePharm will serve as the official sports nutrition partner to Munster Rugby. The team will be exclusively supplied with MusclePharm's superior sports nutrition and post-workout recovery supplements which have been certified by Informed-Choice as containing no banned substances. MusclePharm's branding will be prominently featured throughout a number of channels including product integration, promotional training sessions, sampling days, print media, online digital activity and in-stadia assets at Munster Rugby's home stadiums of Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park. As Ireland's preeminent provincial rugby team with a rich heritage of more than 130 years, Munster Rugby has a loyal and expansive international following that enables MusclePharm to significantly enhance its global brand visibility. The team's dedicated fan base spans several continents, with millions of viewers worldwide tuning in to Munster's televised games each year. "Entering into this partnership with Munster Rugby underscores our commitment to serving athletes of all types and all levels with outstanding nutritional supplement products, free of banned substances, that complement their sports and lifestyle, while simultaneously furthering our global expansion goals," said Ryan Drexler, CEO, MusclePharm. "MusclePharm currently boasts a strong brand presence in Europe and, by partnering with Munster Rugby, we have a unique opportunity to reach an exceptionally engaged audience in Europe and beyond. Furthermore, the addition of another professional sports team to our user base serves to showcase our products' efficacy and ability to adequately support the demanding lifestyles of dedicated athletes everywhere." "Partnering with MusclePharm makes perfect sense for both our players and fans," said Enda Lynch, Munster's Head of Commercial & Marketing. "MusclePharm is a brand known for its high-quality ingredients, commitment to label transparency and most notably the results it helps athletes achieve. We look forward to working closely with the company in a number of areas to provide meaningful brand experiences." Munster Rugby participates in both the Pro12 and European Rugby Champions Cup, and will face defending champions Saracens in the prestigious European Rugby Champions Cup semi-finals in Dublin on April 22nd 2017. This match will be televised across five continents. MusclePharm products including Combat 100% Whey, Combat Protein Powder, Combat 100% Isolate, Combat 100% Casein, Assault Sport, Amino1 and Combat Crunch are available in reputable retail outlets throughout Europe. Read More About MusclePharm Corporation MusclePharm is a scientifically-driven, performance lifestyle company that develops, manufactures, markets and distributes branded nutritional supplements.
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