EUB Begins Hearing for Suncor's Next Expansion
The Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) begins its hearing today into Suncor Energy Inc.'s application to build a third upgrader and to extend operations at the company's Steepbank mine near Fort McMurray. The application represents a critical step in Suncor's multi-phased growth strategy designed to potentially more than double the company's current oil sands production capacity to 500,000 to 550,000 barrels per day in 2010 to 2012.
The EUB hearing marks the culmination of months of consultation between Suncor and various stakeholders, including First Nations, environmental groups, and community representatives. Suncor will continue to work with these groups, and others, to understand and address any outstanding issues related to its regulatory applications.
"This is an important step forward," said Heather Kennedy, Suncor’s vice president for employee and community relations. "We're confident our growth strategy can be achieved responsibly and we welcome the opportunity for stakeholders to examine our plans."
Key elements of Suncor's application include construction of a third oil sands upgrader and related infrastructure just southwest of Suncor's original oil sands plant as well as construction of the North Steepbank extension mining project, adjacent to existing mining operations.
According to a socio-economic impact assessment completed by Suncor, the proposed expansion is expected to create about 300 additional full-time jobs at Suncor's oil sands operation. During construction, the project is expected to employ more than 3,000 workers. The company also completed an environmental assessment, which identified steps Suncor will take to mitigate the project's impacts to air, water, and land.
"Every step of Suncor's growth strategy is guided by the company's vision of sustainable development, taking into account the environmental, economic, and social impact of our operations," said Kennedy. "Suncor has a long history of working successfully with local communities and our Aboriginal neighbors. The company looks forward to continuing that dialogue through the course of this important hearing."
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