Imperial looks to enhance its portfolio amid postponement of Aspen oilsands project.
The outgoing boss of Imperial Oil Ltd. says the $2.6 billion Aspen oilsands project in northern Alberta it announced a year ago—prior to canceling it a few months later—will remain postponed until the province concludes its oil curtailment program.
Rich Kruger, who will retire at the end of 2019, said Imperial, which is around 70% owned by Exxon Mobil Corp, cannot proceed with expanding the project until the government of Alberta halts its program of restricting oil production to support local prices.
News of the Aspen project, which would have employed steam and solvents to produce 75,000 barrels of bitumen per day, took analysts by surprise when it was announced at last year’s investor day but there was no such surprise upon Kruger’s statements in Toronto on Tuesday.
In good news, the Calgary-based company announced a $450 million project to boost output from its four-decades-old Cold Lake thermal project in the northeast of the state by drilling into the previously undeveloped Grand Rapids oilsands formation.
Imperial believes the project will save about $1 billion in capital expenditures by replacing a previously announced Cold Lake expansion project.
The new plan consists of diverting steam from Imperial’s underperforming Nabiye project, which began in 2015, to bring on around 15,000 bpd by 2021, with new steam generation added in future phases to increase production to between 40,000 and 50,000 bpd.
At the same event, Imperial also confirmed news of a plan to boost production from its Kearl oilsands mine to 280,000 bpd (from current levels of 200,000 bpd) through the addition of supplemental ore crushers and self-driving haul trucks, along with other new technology.