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Horizon bitumen upgrader idle until March

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. said its Horizon Oil Sands Plant will be idle longer than initially expected after operations were suspended Feb. 5 for unplanned maintenance on the fractionating unit.

The bitumen upgrader can produce 110,000 b/d of synthetic crude oil. CNRL plans to increase output capacity in phases to 232,000-250,000 b/d (OGJ Online, May 2, 2011).

The company initially expected production to resume by mid-February but now believes the plant won’t reach full production until mid-March.

It said damage to the fractionator is “somewhat more extensive than originally thought.”

It has lowered its projection for average 2012 production to 93,000-103,000 b/d of synthetic crude from 105,000-115,000 b/d because of the unscheduled downtime.

Production in January averaged 81,000 b/d, down from 103,000 b/d in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Last year, a Jan. 6 fire in the coker shut down the Horizon upgrader until Aug. 16 (OGJ Online, Aug. 23, 2011).


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