Two Canadian oil sands projects advance

OPTI Canada Inc. plans to build a $450 million (Can.) oilsands project in the Fort McMurray region of northern Alberta. Initial output would be 30,000 b/d. And Japan Canada Oil Sands plans to increase output at its Hangingstone pilot from 1,500 b/d to 10,000 b/d by 2005.


CALGARY�OPTI Canada Inc. plans to file an application in December with Alberta regulators for a $450 million (Can.) oilsands project in the Fort McMurray region of northern Alberta.

The project will seek approval in 2001 and production of 30,000 b/d in 2004. A second phase planned for 2005 would double output at the site near Gregoire Lake, 25 miles southeast of Fort McMurray.

OPTI is a subsidiary of the Ormat Group of Companies of Israel.

Project manager Phil Rettger said the proposed plant would use steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) technology to remove the bitumen. The project would include an on-site plant to generate steam and electricity. OPTI would use gasified asphalt as a fuel rather than natural gas, which is used in most SAGD operations.

OPTI is building a 500 b/d pilot plant near Cold Lake, Alberta, to test the system. Environmental groups have expressed concern about the OPTI project because use of gasified asphalt would involve higher levels of emissions.

Meanwhile, Japan Canada Oil Sands, (CJOS) Calgary, plans to increase production at its Hangingstone pilot project in northern Alberta from 1,500 b/d to 10,000 b/d by 2005.

The project is 31 miles southwest of Fort McMurray.

CJOS, which is owned by the Japanese government and private investors, estimates the expansion will cost $130 million (Can.). A regulatory application has been filed to increase approved capacity at the pilot plant to 11,000 b/d.

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