Petro-Canada opens MacKay River oil sands facility

Petro-Canada started up operations Oct. 9 at its $290 million (Can.) MacKay River oil sands facility 60 km northwest of Fort McMurray, Alta.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Oct. 14 -- Petro-Canada started up operations Oct. 9 at its $290 million (Can.) MacKay River oil sands facility 60 km northwest of Fort McMurray, Alta.

MacKay River utilizes steam-assisted gravity drainage to extract bitumen from more than 100 m underground. Each of the facility's 25 initial well pairs is expected to produce about 1,200 b/d of bitumen by yearend.

The largest commercial operation of its kind in Canada, MacKay River is slated to ramp up to full production of 30,000 b/d by yearend 2003 and retain that level for the full 25-year life of the plant.

The company has applied for a permit to convert its refinery in Strathcona County, east of Edmonton, to process the bitumen. Preliminary cost estimates for refinery reconfiguration are $4-5 billion.

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