Suncor Energy Commissions Expanded Oil Sands Facility

Suncor Energy has successfully commissioned an expansion of its oil sands upgrading operation and has increased its production capacity to 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) of upgraded crude oil.

"This major milestone in Suncor's growth plans sets the stage for a strong finish to 2005 and a solid 2006," said Rick George, president and chief executive officer. "It underlines the success of our strategy and the quality of our team that, despite the challenges we've faced this year, this project was completed within budget and ahead of schedule."

The centerpiece of the expansion is the addition of a vacuum unit to Suncor's Upgrader 2, which has enabled the company to increase average production capacity to 260,000 bpd from the previous capacity of 225,000 bpd. Construction of the estimated $425 million project began in 2002 with commissioning originally planned for the fourth quarter of 2005.

With the increase in upgrader capacity, Suncor expects the bitumen produced from its in-situ operations will soon flow to the base operation for upgrading. In the past, nearly all of Suncor's in-situ bitumen production had been sold directly to the market.

Suncor is now focused on plans to further increase production capacity to 350,000 bpd in 2008. The next planned phase of expansion includes investments in mining and in-situ operations and the addition of a third pair of cokers to Upgrader 2. Fabrication and placement of coke drums is complete and the project remains on schedule and within budget projections.