By the OGJ Online Staff
HOUSTON, Jan. 24 -- Oil sands joint venture Syncrude Canada Ltd. blamed maintenance issues for lower-than-expected production in 2001.
The company produced 81.4 million bbl of syncrude from Athabasca oil sands bitumen in northern Alberta in 2001, up 10% from 2000 but down from the expected 90-94 million bbl.
During the year, Syncrude coped with a 5-month outage of the LC Finer at its Mildred Lake processing facility, a shutdown of the vacuum distillation unit, and an outage of the gas turbine generator at the Aurora mine.
Syncrude Chairman and CEO Eric Newell said, "We faced many operational issues, yet effectively managed them with the result being greatly improved production in the final weeks of the year."
For the year, production cost an average $18.47 (Can.)/bbl, or about $11.58 (US)/bbl. In 2000, production cost was $17.20 (Can.).
Syncrude attributed the increase to maintenance work, higher natural gas costs, ore processing and start-up issues at the Aurora mine, and lower production volumes than expected.
Total capital spending for 2001 was $828 million (Can.); projected 2002 spending is more than $2 billion, with $1.75 billion earmarked for the Stage 3 of the Syncrude 21 expansion project. It includes an expansion of the Mildred Lake upgrader and a second production train at the Aurora mine (OGJ Online, June 29, 2001).
Partners in Syncrude Canada Ltd. are AEC Oil Sands LP, Athabasca Oil Sands Investments Inc., Canadian Oil Sands Investments Inc., Gulf Canada Resources Ltd., ExxonMobil Corp. affiliate Imperial Oil Resources, Mocal Energy Ltd., Murphy Oil Co. Ltd., Nexen Inc., and Petro-Canada.