• Nexen Inc. announced it has signed an agreement to acquire an additional 15% interest in the Long Lake oilsands project and the joint venture lands in northern Alberta from OPTI Canada. This increases Nexen's interest in the project and joint venture lands to 65%. Nexen will also become operator of the upgrader. Nexen announced that it expects 2009 production guidance to increase by approximately 5,000 boe per day to average between 255,000 and 270,000 boe per day before royalties. Phase 1 expenditures will be focused towards sustainable capital for the steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operation, including the drilling of the first sustaining well pad, the upgrader and costs associated with the start-up of the SAGD debottlenecking project. Final construction of the ash processing unit has been deferred until 2010.

Excelsior Energy announced that drilling operations have begun in its Hangingstone oilsands area. The first rig has been deployed and has drilled two core holes within the demonstration focus area. Excelsior holds operated working interests in both the Hangingstone and West Surmont prospective oil sands areas.

  • Total has withdrawn its application for the Northern Lights oilsands mine. The company said that before proceeding with Northern Lights they want to focus on the Joslyn North mine and other projects. Northern Lights is still part of Total's long-term investment strategy in the oilsands. The associated oilsands upgrader in Sturgeon County, 40 km northeast of Edmonton, is going ahead. The application for Northern Lights was submitted to Alberta Energy in 2006 by Synenco Energy Inc., which was bought by Total in August 2008. Joslyn North is scheduled to produce 100,000 bpd of bitumen by 2012/2013. The south mine is being contemplated for production of an additional 100,000 bpd of bitumen with start-up planned for four years after operation at the Joslyn North mine.
  • StatoilHydro is continuing the regulatory process for field development of its Alberta bitumen leases, despite withdrawing its regulatory application for a bitumen upgrader last month. StatoilHydro still believes its Alberta bitumen leases will eventually yield more than 200,000 bpd, but the timing will be dictated by economics. StatoilHydro currently has approval for a 10,000 bpd SAGD project at Leismer, which is under construction. First steam is planned for mid-2010 with a further expansion of this project to 20,000 bpd that could potentially be reached in 2012.
  • Imperial Oil says work on its Kearl Oilsands Project will continue into 2009, as it did in 2008. Detailed design engineering, procurement of long lead items, site preparations such as access road construction and draining of the overburden is all continuing. This will help the company make a final decision in 2009 as to whether to go ahead with the project. The last estimate for the project was an on stream date in 2012 with production of 100,000 bpd of bitumen. Two additional planned phases will bring the ultimate capacity to 300,000 bpd of bitumen.