Canadian Consulting Engineer

Construction booms in Alberta oilsands

Shell Canada announced in April that it has filed regulatory applications to expand capacity at both the Muskeg Riv...

May 6, 2005   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Shell Canada announced in April that it has filed regulatory applications to expand capacity at both the Muskeg River Mine and Scotford Upgrader.
If approval goes ahead in 2006 as anticipated, production at the Muskeg River Mine located north of Fort McMurray will be expanded from 155,000 barrels per day to around 300,000 barrels per day. The expansion will be on a site on the west side of Lease 13 and on Lease 90.
The diluted bitumen from the Musket River Mine is transported via a 490-kilometre pipeline south to the Scotford Upgrader in Fort Saskatchewan near Edmonton. A third bitumen extraction train will be added to the upgrader as part of the expansion.
Shell Canada, which owns 60% of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project, says its long-term strategy to develop sites there will be to use a continuous construction “building-block” approach, with each building block adding a capacity of 100,000 per barrels per day, to an ultimate 500,000 barrels per day.
To build the latest expansion plans approximately 4,000 people are expected to be employed in constructing the mine site at Lease 13 and 6,400 in constructing the new train at the Scotford Upgrader.
The Athabasca Oil Sands project is one of the largest engineering productions in the world. According to Shell’s web site it —
h Contains enough pipe to stretch from Calgary to Yellowknife, NWT V over 1,600 kilometres.
h Produces enough power to light up Burlington, Ontario, a city of 136,000 people.
h Consists of enough concrete to build the Calgary Tower 34 times.
h Contains enough cable to stretch from Calgary to Halifax, Nova Scotia V 3,400 kilometres.
h Has a combined physical size equivalent to 33, 702 NHL sized hockey rinks.

On May 3, the Government of Alberta promised to invest $530 million over the next 10 years to improve highway access to the booming oil sands developments. The first improvements are to begin this year, with $41 million earmarked for projects on Highway 63 in and around Fort McMurray and on Highway 881 between Lac La Biche and Anzac.


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