Canadian Natural Resources advances Horizon Oil Sands project

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. said it completed several milestones at its Horizon Oil Sands project in northern Alberta in the third quarter, en route to production of 250,000 b/d of synthetic crude oil by 2017 (OGJ Online, Feb. 15, 2012).

CNR installed absorber towers for the gas recovery unit in September as part of a reliability phase. The company also installed coke drums in August as part of Phase 2A and plans to expand the coker plant to alleviate a bottleneck. Phase 2A is about 70% complete and on schedule for completion in 2015, which would add 10,000 b/d of capacity.

Phase 2B, about 20% complete, would increase bitumen yield through the addition of a vacuum distillation unit. It targets an additional 45,000 b/d in 2016.

Phase 3 is about 19% complete and on schedule to add 80,000 b/d in 2017, bringing production capacity to 250,000 b/d. Phase 3 will expand capacity by adding extraction Trains 3 and 4.

CNR said September production at Horizon averaged 117,200 b/d. It expects fourth quarter volumes to average 110,000-115,000 b/d.

As of Oct. 8, CNR expected heavy oil differentials to price at a 26% discount to West Texas Intermediate in October and 32% in November and December.

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