• Enbridge announced it has finalized a deal with the operators of the Kearl oil sands plant, Imperial Oil and ExxonMobil, to build a pipeline from the plant to Edmonton. The pipeline still needs detailed engineering work and regulatory approval prior to proceeding.
  • Connacher Oil and Gas Limited announced it is re-activating its Algar oil sands project after raising approximately $205.6 million through a sale of senior secured notes. Connacher is expecting to drill 15 steam-assisted gravity drainage well pairs. It will take about one month to commission the SAGD facility and three months to steam the wells prior to initial production. Full plant capacity is estimated at 10,000 bpd of bitumen. This announcement is positive for smaller oil sands players and according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute, an indication that global investors are recognizing the long-term viability of the Alberta oil sands industry.
  • Osum Oil Sands Corp. has announced it plans to submit an application by the end of 2009 for its Taiga project, a proposed 35,000 bbl/day, steam-assisted gravity drainage project at Cold Lake. Osum has stated that it is going right to a commercial application because of the proven reserves in the area. Between the company’s two laterally contiguous zones, Taiga and Saleski, Osum estimates that it holds 11 billion net bbls of oil in place. First production from Taiga, which is currently on time and on budget, is expected in early 2014.
  • Ivanhoe Energy Inc. plans to submit regulatory applications in June 2010 for the first phase of its Tamarack project in the Fort McMurray oil sands area. According to Ivanhoe, the project will use steam-assisted gravity drainage and Ivanhoe’s own field partial upgrading technology which will negate the need for natural gas thermal operations and for diluent to transport the heavy oil. The first phase of the project is expected to cost $1.25 billion and first production is expected in late 2013. Ivanhoe projects that the Tamarack property is ultimately capable of operating at production rates of at least 30,000 barrels of bitumen per day for 25 years.
  • The ERCB approved an application from Murphy Oil Company for up to 150 heavy oil horizontal wells near Seal Lake in the Peace River oil sands. The wells will be drilled over the next four years beginning in September of this year. Murphy Oil will use roughly 25 to 32 multi-well pads each consisting of four to six wells. Primary recovery from the wells is expected to last from six to 10 years.
  • A new test centre near Fort McMurray has been established by UTS Energy Corporation and Teck Cominco Limited to develop a technology to reduce diluent requirements so bitumen can be more compatible with a larger number of upgraders. The process is called paraffinic froth treatment and will work by removing asphaltenes and fine clays from bitumen so the heavy crude can move more easily through pipelines. Imperial Oil Limited and Royal Dutch Shell plc each use their own versions of paraffinic froth treatment according to UTS.