Shell to expand Athabasca oil sands project

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Sept. 21 -- Shell Canada Ltd. plans to increase bitumen production at the Athabasca oil sands project (AOSP) in Alberta to 270,000-290,000 b/d by 2010. Its long-term target is to surpass 500,000 b/d.

During the next 3 years, debottlenecking at Muskeg River Mine north of Fort McMurray and the Scotford Upgrader near Edmonton will increase production to 180,000-200,000 b/d. Further expansions by 2010 will increase production to 270,000-290,000. The upgrader could be modified to process the heaviest product streams into lighter, crude blends, Shell said, and plans include mining on newly acquired leases. Expansion costs are estimated at $4.0 billion.

Shell is conducting talks with pipeline and infrastructure owners regarding associated capacity increases.

The AOSP is a joint venture of Shell 60%, Chevron Canada Ltd. 20%, and Western Oil Sands LP 20%.

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