Canadian Mining Journal


OIL SANDS EXPANSIONS – CNRL, EnCana up production plans

ALBERTA - Even before it has produced the first barrel of oil, Calgary's CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES LTD. (CNRL) has...

ALBERTA – Even before it has produced the first barrel of oil, Calgary’s CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES LTD. (CNRL) has made plans to expand production. Initial plans for its Horizon oil sands mine were to begin production in 2008 at 110,000 bbl of synthetic crude per day. The rate was to ramp up in two further phases to 232,000 bbl/day in 2012. Cost of the initial plan was pegged at $10.8 billion, including contingencies.

Now CNRL ( says it will combine Phases 2 & 3 and add two more development phases expanding production by a further 265,000 bbl/day. The company is also reviewing the feasibility of building a 125,000-bbl/day heavy oil upgrader near its in situ oil sands development. The in-situ projects could produce 240,000 bbl/day.

Calgary-based ENCANA CORP. ( has also announced plans to boost its oil sands production to as much as 500,000 bbl/day by spending US$5 billion to US$7.5 billion over the next decade. Executives of the company say they are considering offers of a partnership in the venture.

The company’s Foster Creek in situ oil sands project began production in 2001 at a rate of about 35,000 bbl/day. EnCana says it could potentially run at a rate of 150,000 bbl/day in 2015. The Christina Lake project yields about 7,000 bbl/day and has the potential to produce 250,000 bbl/day. The undeveloped Borealis project could recover 100,000 bbl/day, bringing EnCana’s total oil sands output to 500,000 bbl/day in 2015.

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