ExxonMobil Corporation has recently announced that production at its Kearl oilsands expansion project in Alberta, Canada, started ahead of schedule and is expected to double its overall capacity to 220 000 bbls of bitumen. The expansion project is ultimately expected to reach 110 000 bpd. Kearl will access approximately 4.6 billion bbls of resource for more than 40 years.
The Kearl oilsands expansion projects
The project produces blended bitumen with about the same lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions as the average crude oil refined in the United States. Other environmental innovations include onsite water storage to reduce water use, progressive land and tailings reclamation, and a state-of-the-art waterfowl deterrent system.
“The ahead-of-schedule startup of the Kearl expansion demonstrates ExxonMobil’s project management expertise and highlights our ability to safely and successfully execute complex projects,” said Neil Duffin, President of ExxonMobil Development Company. “The improved understanding gained from the initial Kearl development phase was applied to the expansion project to produce this outstanding result.”
Reducing environment impact
The process reduces energy requirements and environmental impacts
The expansion project consists of three additional trains that use proprietary paraffinic froth treatment technology to produce bitumen. The process reduces energy requirements and environmental impacts by not requiring an onsite upgrader, which avoids a multi-billion dollar capital investment alongside the associated operating expenses. Energy needs are further reduced through the installation of energy-saving cogeneration facilities.
ExxonMobil expects to increase its global production volumes this year by 2%, to 4.1 million boe/d, driven by 7% liquids growth. The volume increase is supported by the ramp up of several projects completed in 2014 and the expected startup of seven major developments in 2015, including the Kearl expansion, Hadrian South in the Gulf of Mexico, Banyu Urip in Indonesia and deepwater expansion projects at Erha in Nigeria and Kizomba in Angola.
Adapted from press release by Cecilia Rehn