Shell to lift in situ oil sands production

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, July 28 -- Shell Canada Ltd. has updated its overall portfolio of in situ oil sands, following completion of the BlackRock Ventures acquisition (OGJ, July 3, 2006, Newsletter). Shell plans over the next 2 years to raise in situ production to nearly 50,000 b/d, primarily from the Peace River area, the newly acquired Seal and Chipmunk assets, and the first phase of the Orion SAGD project in the Cold Lake region.

The company's longer-term upgrading strategy calls for additional future production growth from planned Peace River thermal expansions, expanded cold production opportunities, and other recovery projects. The longer-term upgrading includes plans to evaluate the use of enhanced recovery techniques such as waterflood, miscible flood, and steam injection to maximize recovery from the entire in situ portfolio. This will provide a longer term in situ production potential of 150,000 b/d, Shell said.

With its growing heavy oil holdings, Shell Canada is considering incorporating in situ production growth into future upgrading plans, which would include potential expansions at several locations, including its 97,900 b/d Scotford, Alta., refinery. Beyond the currently proposed 100,000 b/d upgrader expansion at Scotford, Shell Canada intends that future upgrader developments will be dedicated to Shell Canada's equity production from both mining and in situ growth plans.

Shell Canada also may expand its manufacturing facilities in Eastern Canada to maximize value from increased production of synthetic crude feedstock.

The company estimates that its total in situ oil in place is more than 25 billion bbl. This includes the resources in the BlackRock leases of the Peace River, Cold Lake, and Athabasca oil sands regions, along with about 7 billion bbl of oil in place in Shell Canada's Peace River leases.

Shell Canada expects additional in situ resources once it has completed evaluation of the Athabasca area in situ leases acquired in 2005.

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