Located 70 km north of Fort McMurray is the Kearl oil sands project, jointly owned between Imperial Oil (operator) and ExxonMobil Canada. It will be one of Canada’s largest open-pit mining operations with regulatory approval for up to 345,000 barrels a day of production.
The development plan is phased to capture learnings and enhance execution, development and marketing. The plan is currently being reconfigured to include a combination of efficiencies and expansion to minimize facility requirements and to reduce the plant footprint. This approach will leverage execution learnings, take advantage of the investments in initial infrastructure and will utilize our successful 'design one, build many' approach to replicate facilities.
Initial development will start up at around 110,000 bpd with the overall production profile and total resource developed remaining relatively unchanged for the reconfigured project with full lease development yielding attractive unit development costs.
The project will offset declines in conventional oil production and will help meet North America’s energy demands for years to come. With 4.6 billion barrels of recoverable bitumen resource, Kearl is one of Canada’s largest and highest quality oil sands deposits. There is minimal exploration risk because the ore is close to the surface and the volume and quality of the resource has been thoroughly assessed.
Workers are on-site constructing phase one of the project for targeted start up in late 2012. Infrastructure such as roads and power lines are being constructed, foundations are being installed and large-scale facility modules to process the bitumen will soon arrive on-site for assembly.
Current plans do not include any on-site bitumen upgrading facilities for the initial phase of development. The project team is evaluating its refining options, including possible integration with North American refineries owned by Imperial and ExxonMobil.
Kearl's highlights include: