Canadian Mining Journal


OIL SANDS: Fort Hills on track for production late this year

ALBERTA – The new Fort Hills oil sands project was 76% complete at the end of last year, putting it on track to begin producing oil late in  2017. The project is owned 50.8% by Suncor Energy (the operator), 20.0% by Teck Resources, and 29.2% by Total.

Alberta’s rich oil sands. (Photo: Suncor Energy)

All major plant equipment and materials are on site north of Fort McMurray, and all major vessels and process modules have been installed. Shovels, trucks and other mining equipment are being mobilized. Two of the six major project areas – mining and infrastructure – have been turned over to operations. At the end of 2016, 58% of the needed employees had been hired.

The Fort Hills project was affected by wildfires in the spring of 2016. That and productivity challenges have forced capital expenditures upward by about 10%. Suncor estimates the overall cost of the project will be between $16.5 billion and $17.0 billion.  As if to balance out the overspend, the nameplate capacity has risen to 194,000 bbl/d.

Production from the first of three secondary extraction units is expected to begin by the end of his year. The other two secondary extraction units are scheduled to be completed and commissioned in the first half of 2018. By the end of next year, the partners expect the plant to be producing at 90% of capacity.

Complete information about Fort Hills and the job prospects there are available at

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