Business

ConocoPhillips plans oilsands expansion

Houston-based ConocoPhillips and French oil company Total SA announced plans Tuesday to expand their Surmont oilsands development southeast of Fort McMurray, Alta.

Construction to start this year

Houston-based ConocoPhillips and French oil company Total SA announced plans Tuesday to expand their Surmont oilsands development southeast of Fort McMurray, Alta.

The move would increase Surmont's output fourfold, to 110,000 barrels of bitumen per day, from 27,000 barrels per day.

ConocoPhillips is also a partner with Cenovus in the Foster Creek oilsands project which, like Surmont, extracts bitumen using steam rather than mining. ((Cenovus))

Construction is due to start this year and be completed by 2015. ConocoPhillips did not say in its announcement how much the expansion would cost.

"The oilsands are an area of significant future oil production growth and are important for short- and long-term energy and economic security in North America," ConocoPhillips CEO John Carrig said in a release.

This phase of Surmont will also result in a significant increase in construction and operating jobs."

Both companies own equal shares of the Surmont joint venture.

"We believe that our oilsands projects and the conversion of crude oil produced from oilsands to fuel can be conducted in an environmentally sustainable manner and that technology will play a significant role in managing the environmental footprint," Carrig said.

"Accordingly, we are actively investing in research and technology development that holds promise for reducing the impacts on air, land and water. We anticipate spending more than $300 million in heavy oil technology research and development over the next five years to improve economic and environmental performance."