CALGARY, ALBERTA— Suncor has officially announced that the Fort Hills project is continuing its steady ramp up of production following the safe startup of secondary extraction on Jan. 27, 2018. Fort Hills, which is located approximately 90 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, has a capacity of approximately 194,000 barrels per day (bbls/d), approximately 103,000 bbls/d net to Suncor.
As expected, the first of three trains from secondary extraction is now online and production on this train will continue to ramp up through the first quarter.
“With operations at Fort Hills now in continuous production, we’ve brought one of the best long-term growth projects in our industry into service and we’re now focused on the safe and steady ramp up through 2018,” said Steve Williams, Suncor president and chief executive officer. “Thanks to the hard work and diligence of our employees, contractors and joint venture partners, we were able to accomplish this safely and efficiently. Fort Hills will provide energy and employment and generate returns for decades.”
At peak construction, Fort Hills employed an average of 7,900 people. Now in operation, Fort Hills employs approximately 1,400 direct employees and the vast majority have been hired from Alberta.
The Fort Hills project was sanctioned by the Fort Hills partners in 2013. The project was designed in stages in order to level load resources through construction and development. This phased approach provided for a progressive turnover of assets to operations over time, avoiding a commissioning bottleneck in the final stages of the project, and enabling early testing of the Mine, Primary Extraction and Utilities facilities. The project has already completed five test runs of the plant, producing 1.4 million barrels of froth.
The second and third trains of secondary extraction are being insulated and expected to start up in the first half of 2018, as planned. Fort Hills remains on track to reach 90% capacity by the end of 2018, as per the Corporate Guidance issued in November 2017.
Fort Hills is operated by Suncor which holds a 53.06% interest in the project. The Fort Hills joint venture partners are Total E&P Canada Ltd. (26.05%) and Teck Resources Limited (20.89%). Fort Hills bitumen production is blended for shipment to market at the East Tank Farm Development, a joint venture between Fort McKay First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation and Suncor.