MEG Energy ramps up Christina Lake bitumen production

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Aug. 12
-- “Production volumes from our commercial operations at Christina Lake, which commenced in August 2009, have safely ramped-up more rapidly than any other SAGD [steam-assisted gravity drainage] project that we are aware of, and with one of the lowest SOR [steam-oil ratio],” said Bill McCaffrey, MEG Energy Corp.'s chairman, president, and chief executive officer in a recent company press release.

MEG's Christina Lake project is in the southern Athabasca area of northeast Alberta and next to Cenovus Energy Inc.'s operated Christina Lake project.

MEG said its second-quarter Christina Lake bitumen production average 24,412 b/d and 26,412 b/d in June with the SOR, a key measure of SAGD efficiency, declining to 2.4 in May and June.

MEG's Christina Lake 3,000 b/d pilot Phase 1 facility started production in 2008 and was integrated with the company's 22,000 b/d Phase 2 facility that started production in August 2009.

In June, the 26,412 b/d production from 29 horizontal well pairs exceeded the 25,000 b/d design capacity of the combined facilities and its 2.4 SOR in June is one of the lowest SORs in Alberta's in situ oil sands industry, MEG said.

Currently MEG has started to circulate steam in two additional horizontal well pairs and it plans to start production from them in the third quarter.

Production during the ramp up averaged 2,493 b/d in third-quarter 2009, 5,920 b/d in fourth-quarter 2009, 13,447 b/d in first-quarter 2010, and 24,562 b/d in second-quarter 2010.

The company expects production to stabilize at 24,000-27,000 b/d.

MEG also plans to start field construction and drilling of horizontal well pairs toward yearend or in 2011 for the 35,000 b/d Christina Lake Phase 2b. It expects to start steaming the wells in 2013.

MEG also has filed in 2008 an application for Christina Lake Phase 3 that would add 150,000 b/d of production. MEG received a completeness decision in May from Alberta Environment in respect of its Phase 3 environmental impact assessment application and in June made a formal request to the Energy Resources Conservation Board for a decision regarding the project application. MEG expects to receive ERCB approvals in late 2010 or 2011.

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