By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Feb. 8 -- Suncor Energy Inc., Calgary, expects its oil sands upgrader, which caught fire Jan. 4, to return to its full production capacity of 225,000 b/d in the third quarter (OGJ Online, Jan. 7, 2005). In January production averaged 137,000 b/d of oil, including 17,000 b/d of in-situ bitumen production.
During the repair period, which is under way, production is expected to average about 110,000 b/d of oil, in addition to bitumen production from in-situ operations. As repairs progress, new information could modify the timetable for returning to full production, the company said.
Although Suncor continues to investigate the cause of the fire, it said preliminary indications suggest that corrosion in a recycle line caused the line to rupture, releasing hydrocarbon vapor, which ignited. The line, which filters heavy oil from the fractionator before rerouting it through the tower, was not lined with stainless steel.
Suncor said it now is applying stainless steel lining appropriately in other parts of its operations. During the recovery period, Suncor will bring forward as many maintenance projects as possible, including a major maintenance shutdown previously planned for fall.
The company also plans to increase oil sands production capacity to 260,000 b/d of oil by yearend.