OGJ Newsletter

Jan. 9, 2012

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Drilling & ProductionQuick Takes

SilverBirch seeks approval for bitumen mine

SilverBirch Energy Corp. announced the filing of a regulatory application and environmental impact assessment for the Frontier bitumen mine, including Equinox, for producing about 277,000 b/d of partially deasphalted bitumen.

The mine is 110 km north of Fort McMurray, Alta.

The application was submitted to Alberta Environment, the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board, and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

SilverBirch expects a production start in 2020-21 and recovery of 2.8 billion bbl of bitumen over the project's life.

The company said corporate sanctioning of the project could occur as early as 2014-15 with construction commencing in 2016.

SilverBirch said it is under no obligation to provide major project funding at this time and will not proceed with construction until a partnership agreement and funding solutions are in place.

Teck Resources Ltd. with a 50% interest is the operator of the project with SilverBirch holding the remaining 50%.

Well examination guidelines published in UK

Oil & Gas UK, as part of work begun in response to the Macondo disaster in April 2010, has published two sets of guidelines to help operators understand and meet goals set by Health and Safety Executive regulations for oil and gas wells off the UK.

The Well Life Cycle Practices Forum (WLCPF) produced the guidelines. WLCPF was formed as a permanent body within Oil & Gas UK at the recommendation of the Oil Spill Prevention and Advisory Group, which convened after the Macondo blowout and spill and disbanded in September after completing its work (OGJ Online, Sept. 23, 2011).

The new guidelines, first two in a series, cover well examination and competency of well examiners.

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