Horizon bitumen upgrader idle until March

By OGJ editors

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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