Energy company Suncor produced, on average, about 636 000 bbl/d of oil equivalent so far in the second quarter.
This follows the completion of major planned turnaround activities and strong production from growth projects.
This, the company said, reflects the significant planned turnarounds in the quarter, as it exited May at about 800 000 bbl/d.
The planned turnaround work did, however, experience some delays and additional work but is now complete at Suncor’s Oil Sands base plant Syncrude, and its four refineries.
These assets are expected to run at full rates in June, the company said on Thursday, adding that the Hebron and Fort Hills growth projects are delivering production that is exceeding expectations.
“The Fort Hills megaproject has surpassed expectations; it came online safely, ramped up well ahead of schedule and is producing a high-quality, fungible bitumen that is expected to continue to receive a premium price to in situ bitumen.
“We are especially appreciative of the dedication and careful planning and execution that our team and partners have demonstrated in achieving this remarkable result," says Suncor president and CEO Steve Williams.
He added that Fort Hills’ bitumen has the same greenhouse-gas emissions intensity per barrel as the average crude refined in the US.
“Our investors and stakeholders can be proud of advances being made in decreasing the carbon intensity of our production,” he says.
Further, following the May commissioning of Fort Hills’ third and final train of secondary extraction, Suncor tested the plant at full capacity, proving the design capacity of 194 000 bbl/d.
In addition, the company also completed a seven-day reliability test of the plant, running in excess of 90% capacity, about 170 000 bbl/d, with no significant issues.
With the advanced commissioning of the final train of secondary extraction, the plant has ramped up earlier than anticipated, Suncor noted.
As a result, while the company will be accelerating the growth of planned mine capacity to align with the plant capacity, Fort Hills is expected to continue to track at the high end of guidance for the quarter.
Looking forward to the fourth quarter, Suncor is now targeting 90% average production at Fort Hills, up from the original guidance which had a fourth-quarter midpoint of about 80%.
When the joint venture partners announced that they would proceed with the Fort Hills project in 2013, the total project cost was estimated at a capital intensity of about $84 000 per flowing barrel, the project was scheduled to produce first oil as early as the fourth quarter of 2017 and it was expected to achieve 90% of its planned production capacity within 12 months.
Save for a few weeks delay of first oil, the project’s overall fundamentals and ramp up have been delivered faster or better than forecast, the company said.
“The successful completion of the Fort Hills project is the direct result of a well-developed and executed strategy to level load construction, accelerated commissioning plans using synergies between base plant and Fort Hills, the progressive turnover of assets from construction to operations, and the staged ramp up of production over time,” Suncor added.
The project, the company explains, was built during a period of low oil prices and has come online just as oil prices have strengthened.
Suncor expects Fort Hills to continue to provide significant returns for decades.
“With production from both Fort Hills and Hebron ramping up earlier than anticipated and the completion of major planned maintenance at Suncor’s oil sands and downstream operations, Suncor is well-positioned for strong production performance for the remainder of the year”.