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    Imperial’s Kearl Expansion Ramps Up Production Ahead of Schedule

    Imperial Oil Ltd.’s Kearl expansion has begun production ahead of schedule, reports a recent article in The Globe and Mail. This $8.9 billion expansion doubles the capacity of the 110,000 bbld mine.

    Image courtesy of The Globe and Mail
    Imperial’s Kearl mining facility; image courtesy of The Globe and Mail

    One of the largest oil sands mine start-ups in years, this unique project utilizes a technology known as ‘paraffinic froth treatment’, which enables diluted bitumen to be shipped directly to market, rather than using a GHG-intensive upgrading plant to convert bitumen into crude. The use of this technology reduces both environmental and maintenance costs for Imperial.

    The strengthening prices for Western Canada Select, which are the result of supply disruptions as well as high demand, have benefited oil sands producers by narrowing the discount against North American benchmark crude. This has led some of the largest oil sands producers to boost output in recent months, and though some have dialed back spending on expansion projects to conserve cash, companies such as Imperial and Suncor have pressed on with projects that began prior to the fall of oil prices last year while simultaneously increasing cost-cutting efforts.

    To read the full article in The Globe and Mail click here.

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