Edmonton

Suncor sells billionth barrel from oilsands project

Suncor has reached a major milestone in its oilsands project, a venture considered controversial, if not foolhardy, when the company launched in 1963.

Suncor has reached a major milestone in its oilsands project, a venture considered controversial, if not foolhardy, when the company launched in 1963.

Now, 42 years later, Suncor has sold its billionth barrel of crude oil.

"Our entry into the oilsands business was deemed 'a daring venture into an unknown field,'" Rick George, Suncor's chief executive officer, said in announcing the sale Thursday.

The Great Canadian Oil Sands was originally launched in 1963 with a record investment of about $250 million. It began operations in 1967 and produced 500 million barrels by 1996, with the second 500 million coming nine years later.

In the early years, Suncor hoped to produce 45,000 barrels of oil a day from its plant in Fort McMurray, a volume that has now reached 260,000 barrels. The company hopes to double that capacity by 2012.

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