Canadian Mining Journal


OIL SANDS EXPANSION: Syncrude’s plans include Aurora South mine

ALBERTA - Calgary's Canadian Oil Sands Trust, 37% owner of the Syncrude project near Fort McMurray, has announ...

ALBERTA – Calgary’s Canadian Oil Sands Trust, 37% owner of the Syncrude project near Fort McMurray, has announced plans to expand synthetic crude oil production to 425,000 bbl/day by the end of this decade. No cost estimates have yet been made for the expansion.

First, the existing Mildred Lake upgrading facility will be debottlenecked. Projects involve accessing the excess coking capacity that was build during Syncrude’s last expansion, modifying other facilities, and potentially adding new ancillary units, the company says.

Second, additional feed for a debottlenecked upgrader will be supplied from the undeveloped Aurora South mine. Syncrude originally received approval for that mine in 1998, but has recently submitted an updated report to the regulators. If construction of a new mining train at Aurora South began in 2012, production would be expected by the end of 2016. A second train that would come on-stream in 2020 is planned. Bitumen output would then be sufficient to produce 600,000 bbl/d, about 150,000 bbl/d more than the upgrader could handle.

“Under today’s economic conditions, we believe these expansion plans have the advantage of bringing on production growth with less project execution risk and better economics than constructing greenfield upgrading facilities,” said Marcel Coutu, Canadian Oil Sands’ president and CEO. “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.”

A glossary of oil sands related terms is available at

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1 Comment » for OIL SANDS EXPANSION: Syncrude’s plans include Aurora South mine
  1. Gerrit Zwiep says:

    To whom it may concern:
    My name is Gerrit Zwiep and many years ago I worked for a large engineering firm and I did the drawings, general arrangements, sections and details for what was at the time called “the Slurry Preparation Tower. I remember doing the largest vibrating screen ever made at the time, the interchangeable hammer mills. the overs chute, a crane system on top of the tower but never heard if it was ever installed, it was meant to lower the hammer mills to the ground for maintenance. To make a long story short, I never had a chance to return and see what was actually built. I’m 70 now and was wondering if there was a possibility to get some pictures of what I designed, just out of curiosity. Presently, I am the owner of Silver Creek Design located in Vancouver and am in the process of setting up a web site, pictures would make that dream a more realistic possibility.
    Gerrit Zwiep

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