Imperial Oil Approves $2B Cold Lake Oil-Sands Expansion



Imperial Oil Ltd. said it has approved a $2 billion expansion of its big Cold Lake oil-sands operation in northeastern Alberta, a move that will add more than 40,000 barrels of commercial bitumen production a day.

In a statement Friday, the Calgary-based integrated oil and gas company said the expansion will allow access to 280 million barrels of recoverable reserves. Start-up is expected by the end of 2014.

The expansion will include a new steam generation and bitumen-processing plant, field production pads and associated facilities.

Imperial Oil's Cold Lake produced an average of 160,000 barrels of bitumen a day in 2011.

Earlier this week, Exxon Mobil Corp.-controlled Imperial Oil posted better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings, fueled by higher crude prices, strong production from Cold Lake and stronger refining margins.

Imperial also has another big Alberta oil-sands project - Kearl - which is slated for start-up late this year. That $8.91 billion (CAN $8.9 billion) project is expected to reach 345,000 barrels a day by the end of the decade, and is a key part of Imperial's plan to double production by 2020.



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