- Nexen announced it has produced the first synthetic crude from its $6.1 billion Long Lake oil sands project. The main process units in the upgrader were successfully started up. Synthetic gas from the upgrader is being used in the SAGD operations, which will reduce the requirement to purchase natural gas. Early synthetic production rates are in the range of 10,000 to 15,000 bpd of high quality synthetic crude. Nexen said it will take 12 to 18 months before the upgrading plant reaches the capacity rate of 60,000 bpd of synthetic crude. Nexen has completed the acquisition of an additional 15% interest in the Long Lake project and the joint venture lands from OPTI for $735 million. Nexen is now the sole operator of the resource and upgrader, and holds a 65% interest in the project and the joint venture lands.
- Connacher Oil and Gas announced that it is resuming full output at its oil sands project after six weeks of reduction because returns on the extra-heavy crude have improved. The company cut output to 5000 bpd of bitumen when the operation became unprofitable. Connacher expects to reach full production of 9000 bpd of bitumen by the end of next month. It had been the first notable Canadian oil sands producer to chop production as oil prices tumbled. Connacher also suspended construction on its second steam-driven oil sands development, the Algar project.
Enbridge has put plans on hold for the $346 million Trailbreaker pipeline expansion that would have shipped western Canadian oil through Ontario and Quebec to markets in the Gulf of Mexico via tanker by mid-2010. There was not enough support from shippers and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) to move this project forward. Plans have been put on hold until there is renewed interest in the project from shippers and CAPP. Enbridge outlined the interim scheme in July to give Canadian producers access to the Gulf Coast by using the pipeline expansion and then shipping the crude by tanker down the Atlantic seaboard from Portland Maine. It would have provided transportation for 130,000 bpd of oil sands production to the US and up to 70,000 bpd to Montreal refiners. The project involved re-reversal of Line 9 from Montreal to Sarnia and the reversal of an existing 18-inch line from Portland to Montreal. The system would have also required expansion of the system from Chicago to Sarnia. There have been a variety of proposals for increasing transport of crude from Canada's oil sands to refineries in Texas and Louisiana, that have been hit with declining volumes of oil from Mexico and Venezuela.
French Oil Company major Total SA made an unsolicited $617 million takeover bid for UTS Energy Corp. to acquire an interest in the Fort Hills oil sands project in Alberta. UTS has a 20% stake in the Fort Hills project, as well as interests in two other undeveloped oil sands leases. Other partners in Fort Hills are Petro-Canada, who is also the operator, and Teck Cominco. Total also has a 74% stake in Joslyn project and a 60% stake in the Northern Lights project, neither of which has been developed and a 50% stake in the Surmont project which is producing.