Syncrude latest oilsands player to forgo building pricey upgrader
plans to build its Voyageur upgrader, which was shelved in late 2008 when the economic downturn hit.
Imperial and Suncor are also both partners in Syncrude, with 25 per cent and 12 per cent stakes respectively.
Syncrude, north of Fort McMurray, Alta., is the largest oilsands operation in the world, with the ability to produce roughly 350,000 barrels of synthetic crude oil per day.
Canadian Oil Sands Trust has the biggest stake in Syncrude with 37 per cent. Other partners include ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) with nine per cent, Nexen Inc. (TSX:NXY) with seven per cent, and Mocal Energy Ltd. and Murphy Oil Co. each holding five per cent.
Suncor and Syncrude, the two oldest oilsands operators, have a decades-long history of upgrading their bitumen within Alberta, so the fact that both have been rethinking their strategies is especially troubling, said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
“Alarm bells should be going off at the legislature when ... even stalwart companies like these start making plans to export significant quantities of bitumen in its rawest form,” he said.
McGowan said his group would like to see the government place restrictions on the export of raw bitumen in order to ensure jobs and investment stay in the province.
“ The implications could be serious for Albertans. We’ll essentially be shipping thousands of high-paying jobs down the pipeline,” he said.