Monday, March 14, 2005

Suncor Applies For Expansion Operating Permit

Suncor, a Canadian energy firm engaged in oil sands extraction, has plans to expand its operations with a C$5.9 billion (US $4.89 billion) upgrade of its Alberta facilities to process extra-heavy crude and turn it into synthetic oil. The upgrade will depend on the price of steel, which is also rising. Perhaps of greater interest, the company has applied to gasify and burn petroleum coke instead of natural gas, freeing that essential commodity for other activities and making the oil sands operations more self-sustaining. When completed (construction is slated to start in 2007, and start operations in 2010), the plant will generate 550,000 barrels of synthetic crude a day.

The company's press release at their website suggests the plant won't be in full operation until 2012. In addition to further mining expansion, the company also plans to pursue carbon dioxide capture and sequestration as part of their operations.