Comments open on Frontier oil sands project

By OGJ editors

Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board has opened applications for the Frontier Oil Sands Mines Project for comment after the operator agreed to a deal that would give it 100% interest in the development about 100 km north of Fort McMurray.

The operator, Teck Resources Ltd., Vancouver, BC, filed applications to build the project last November (OGJ Online, Nov. 29, 2011). In January, it agreed to acquire SilverBirch Energy Corp., Calgary, with which it shares the Frontier project with 50% interests each. The SilverBirch acquisition, subject to approvals, is expected to close by Apr. 16.

The project includes an area called Equinox to the south. It’s designed for as many as four production lines with total capacity of more than 277,000 b/d of deasphalted bitumen. The first two lines would have combined capacity of 159,000 b/d. Ultimate recovery over 30 years is estimated at 2.8 billion bbl.

The Teck-SilverBirch deal, involving a net cash outlay by Teck of $435 million (Can.), will result in creation of a company called SilverWillow Energy Corp. in Calgary to hold SilverBirch assets other than the Frontier and Equinox project.

Those assets are exploration leases in the Athabasca oil sands including an area called Audet for which Sproule Unconventional Ltd. has estimated discovered bitumen initially in place at 1.69 billion bbl.

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