Syncrude shuts down new desulfurization unit

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, May 22 -- On orders of Alberta Environmental Protection (AEP), Syncrude Canada Ltd., Calgary, has shut down its new Coker 8-3 flue-gas desulfurization unit and associated equipment, one of three fluid coker units at its Mildred Lake oil sands plant north of Fort McMurray, Alta.

AEP ordered the shutdown following complaints by Fort McKay and Fort McMurray residents of strong odors after Syncrude started up new equipment May 6 following completion of its $8.4 billion plant expansion (OGJ, May 15, 2006, Newsletter). The plant had been upgraded to 350,000 b/d of synthetic crude.

Syncrude base plant operations are continuing to produce 250,000 b/d while Syncrude investigates the source of the emissions.

The flue-gas desulfurization unit uses new technology designed to eliminate most sulfur dioxide emissions from the expanded facility. Additional expansions are planned to bring eventual production at the facility to 500,000 b/d.

Syncrude Canada Ltd. operates the Syncrude project, which is owned by Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., ConocoPhillips Oilsands Partnership II, Imperial Oil Resources Ltd., Mocal Energy Ltd., Murphy Oil Co. Ltd., Nexen Oil Sands Partnership, and Petro-Canada Oil & Gas.

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