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Suncor produces billionth barrel of crude since '67, gives production update

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    Charles Randall

    Jan. 6, 2006 FORT McMURRAY, Alta. (CP) –

    Suncor Energy Inc. has reached a major milestone at its Alberta oilsands project with the sale of its billionth barrel of crude oil since operations began ceremoniously in 1967, the 100th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation.
    “Our entry into the oilsands business was deemed ‘a daring venture into an unknown field,” CEO Rick George said in a release. “Now, almost 40 years later, that pioneering spirit of innovation, hard work and vision continues to be the hallmark of our success.”
    Calgary-based Suncor’s oilsands operations began on Sept. 30, 1967. and its main focus in the early years was to strengthen operational reliability and achieve steady production of about 45,000 barrels of oil a day.
    Today, production capacity is 260,000 barrels a day, with plans to expand to more than half a million barrels per day by 2010 to 2012.
    “With our ambitious growth plans, we expect our next billion barrels to be reached much more quickly than the first billion,” George said.
    Late Thursday, Suncor reported that production at its oilsands plant in December averaged about 270,000 barrels of upgraded crude oil a day.
    Average annual oilsands production for 2005 was about 171,000 barrels a day, a figure that reflects the impact of a fire that hampered output at the operation last year.
    With repair work completed and expanded production on stream, Suncor said it hopes to hit oilsands production of 260,000 barrels per day in 2006.
    In 1963, predecessor company Sun Oil announced a Canadian record investment of almost $250 million to build the Suncor oilsands plant, then known as the Great Canadian Oil Sands project.
    In 1996, Suncor reported it had produced 500 million barrels of oil since the 1967 opening.
    Suncor’s oilsands business near Fort McMurray extracts and upgrades oilsands and markets refinery feedstock and diesel fuel, while operations throughout Western Canada produce natural gas.
    Suncor also operates a refining and marketing business in Ontario with retail distribution under the Sunoco brand. U.S. operations include a refining business in Colorado and gasoline stations in the Denver area under the Phillips 66 brand.
    Sunoco in Canada is separate and unrelated to the Sunoco brand in the United States, which is owned by Sunoco Inc. of Philadelphia.
    Suncor shares closed down 45 cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday at $75.39.

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