ExxonMobil Corp. has started bitumen production at the $2-billion Cold Lake Nabiye project expansion in northeastern Alberta.
The expansion is producing 20,000 b/d with volumes expected to double during the year to reach peak production of 40,000 b/d. Nabiye will access 280 million bbl of recoverable resources during its expected 30-year lifespan.
The project was planned and executed by ExxonMobil Development Co. on behalf of the Cold Lake project operator, Imperial Oil Ltd., ExxonMobil’s majority owned Canada affiliate.
The expansion was sanctioned in February 2012 and included development of a new steam generation and bitumen processing plant, field production pads, and associated facilities, including a 170-Mw electrical cogeneration plant that improves the plant’s energy efficiency (OGJ Online, Feb. 3, 2012).
Other features designed to improve environmental performance include sulfur-recovery facilities and an advanced wellpad design that reduces the field footprint by more than 40%.
The Cold Lake facility is the largest and longest-running in-situ oil sands operation in Canada, and includes five steam generation and bitumen production plants. The operation produced an average of 150,000 b/d of bitumen in recent years.