REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF WOOD BUFFALO — At a recent grand opening ceremony, government officials, Suncor representatives, local contractors and First Nation leaders celebrated the startup of Fort Hills mine operations, deeming the oilsands project a win for Alberta’s energy sector and the economy of Wood Buffalo.
The project, which created about 7,900 jobs at the peak of construction, is a joint venture between Suncor, Total E&P Canada Ltd., and Teck Resources Ltd., with Suncor holding 54.11 per cent of interest in Fort Hills, indicated a news release.
Fort Hills is an open-pit truck and shovel mine, consisting of two main pits and a mine fleet capable of sustaining a production of 14,500 tonnes of oilsand per hour.
According to the project website, the mine delivers oilsands feed to two ore crushing plants where the material will be crushed and processed. The ore is then mixed with warm water and conditioned to create slurry, which is then transported to primary extraction via three hydrotransport lines.
New extraction technologies focus on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) intensity per barrel of bitumen produced, explains the company. GHG emissions intensity of production at Fort Hills is currently on par with the average refined barrel in the United States. The project has a production capacity of approximately 194,000 barrels per day, the news release stated.
“Fort Hills is the new face of oilsands. Not only will it produce returns for shareholders, generate jobs, create revenue for vendors and suppliers, and contribute to the provincial and national economies – it showcases how we’re continuing to innovate through technology and the mutually beneficial relationship that is possible with Aboriginal peoples,” said Steve Williams, the CEO of Suncor, in a statement.
The Government of Alberta estimates Fort Hills could generate about $8 billion in royalties to the province over the life of the project, says the release.