Explosion reported at the CNRL Horizon oil sands upgrader

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Jan. 7
-- Canadian media has reported an explosion at the Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Horizon oil sands upgrader in the Athabasca area of northern Alberta. The reports indicate that a fire, which began in the main upgrader that coverts bitumen, was extinguished in the evening on Jan. 6. The plant remains shut down.

A Jan. 6 CNRL news release said the company expected December production from Horizon to average about 83,700 b/d of synthetic crude oil, with full-year 2010 production averaging 90,000 b/d of SCO.

CNRL noted that the lower December production was a result of a required plant shut down to facilitate repairs to the coker unit in primary upgrading. After completing the repairs and other maintenance activities, it said the plant successfully restarted despite the cold weather.

The company's budget targets a 2011 SCO production of 105,000-112,000 b/d from Horizon.

The Horizon site is 70 km north of Fort McMurray.

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