Syncrude production could ramp up to 425,000 barrels of crude per day by 2020
with less project execution risk and better economics than constructing greenfield upgrading facilities,” said Canadian Oil Sands chief executive Marcel Coutu.
The plans outlined Wednesday exceed earlier expectations that Syncrude could expand crude production to 400,000 barrels per day.
The expanded upgrader would handle bitumen from Syncrude’s yet-to-be-developed Aurora South mine. Construction on a first mining train is set to begin in 2012, with production expected by the end of 2016.
A second mining train will bring total bitumen production at Syncrude to 600,000 barrels per day by the end of the decade.
“I believe that, given the size of Syncrude’s resource base, we still have the ability to grow beyond this expanded 600,000 barrel per day productive capacity level,” said Coutu.
The expansions will leave Syncrude with more bitumen than it is able to upgrade into synthetic crude, so the plan is to sell the extra raw product on the open market.