Suncor near end of commissioning for Project Millennium expansion

Suncor Inc., Calgary, said commissioning of its Project Millennium oil sands expansion in Alberta is nearly complete, and it expects plant capacity to reach the target of 225,000 b/d by yearend.

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Dec. 12 -- Suncor Inc., Calgary, said commissioning of its Project Millennium oil sands expansion in Alberta is nearly complete, and it expects plant capacity to reach the target of 225,000 b/d by yearend.

That is nearly double the 2000 average production, said Suncor. The expansion of Suncor's Fort McMurray oil sands operation took 4 years and cost $3.4 billion (Can.), up from the original estimate of $3.25 billion. Suncor attributed the increase to extra costs in the final stages of construction.

Rick George, president and CEO, said, "Each unit has been individually commissioned and nearly all facilities have been run to design capacity. We're now focused on fine-tuning and integrating operations and delivering steady and reliable rates of production."

The company said Fort McMurray has produced as much as 215,000 b/d over the last month but will likely produce an average 210,000 b/d in 2002 as the new Millennium facilities are fully integrated with base operations.

"We expect the winter weather, combined with the challenges that always come with operating new equipment, to result in production volatility," said George. "But for the most part, the difficult tasks are behind us."

By the end of 2002, Suncor expects to apply for regulatory approval on Voyageur, a phased expansion that is intended to double production capacity up to 550,000 b/d over the next 10 years (OGJ Online, Nov. 14, 2001).

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