Imperial CEO says no to Aspen oilsands project until Alberta oil quotas lifted

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The past CEO of Imperial Oil Ltd. says the $2.6-billion Aspen oilsands project in northern Alberta it foretold a year ago — only to cancel it a few months later — will remain on the sidelines until the field completely ends its oil curtailment program.

Rich Kruger, who is retiring at year-end, symbolizes the company which is about 70 per cent owned by American giantess Exxon Mobil Corp. can’t go forward with a major expansion until the control halts its program to restrict oil production to support local prices.

Legitimizing of the Aspen project, which would have used steam and financially sounds to produce 75,000 barrels of bitumen per day from wells, surprised witnesses when it was announced at last year’s investor day but there was no such bowl over at this year’s event in Toronto on Tuesday.

The Calgary-based company did, in any case, announce a $450-million project to boost output from its four-decades-old Discouraging Lake thermal project in northeastern Alberta by drilling into the yesterday undeveloped Grand Rapids underground oilsands formation.

Imperial communicates the project will save about $1 billion in capital expending by replacing its previously proposed Cold Lake expansion project, which choice have added 55,000 bpd of capacity.

The new plan involves diverting steam from its to hand underperforming Nabiye project, started up in 2015, to bring on about 15,000 bpd in the at the outset phase by 2021, with new steam generation added in future periods to take production to 40,000 to 50,000 bpd.

Imperial also confirmed a envision to boost production from its Kearl oilsands mine to 280,000 bpd from the trend 200,000 bpd through the addition of supplemental ore crushers and self-driving haul stocks, along with other enhancements.

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