Syncrude cuts production estimate for 2000

An explosion in a coker unit during a turnaround maintenance program forced Syncrude Canada Ltd. to cut its 2000 production estimate to 75 million bbl from 79 million bbl. The consortium, which operates an oilsands plant in the Fort McMurray region of northern Alberta, described the incident last week as a pressure wave during the start-up sequence of the fractionator associated with the coker 8-2 unit.


CALGARY�An explosion in a coker unit during a turnaround maintenance program forced Syncrude Canada Ltd. to cut its 2000 production estimate to 75 million bbl from 79 million bbl.

The consortium, which operates an oilsands plant in the Fort McMurray region of northern Alberta, described the incident last week as a pressure wave during the start-up sequence of the fractionator associated with the coker 8-2 unit. There were no serious injuries but the internals of the coker unit tower were damaged. Repair costs for the fractionator are estimated at $5.5 million (Can.).

The consortium has reduced production estimates several times. Its initial production estimate for 2000 was 92.5 million bbl, but that was reduced to between 83 and 87 million bbl in April after problems with production units, including a coker and diluent recovery unit.

Syncrude produced a record 81.4 million bbl of synthetic crude in 1999.

The consortium said the maintenance turnaround scheduled for completion mid-October now would not be completed until mid-November.

Syncrude pres. and CEO Jim Carter said the group will be well positioned for record production in 2001 once the current work is completed. There are no maintenance turnarounds scheduled for 2001.

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