Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX, NYSE: CVE) is producing oil from phase D at its Christina Lake oil sands operation approximately three months ahead of schedule and within budget. The company began injecting steam in the second quarter of this year and began producing in late July. Production at Christina Lake in August averaged more than 61,000 barrels per day (bbls/d) gross, an increase of nearly 4,000 bbls/d when compared to production in the second quarter. Christina Lake is operated by Cenovus and jointly owned with ConocoPhillips.
Cenovus's Christina Lake operation
“Cenovus continues to demonstrate the strength of our phased approach to expansions,” said John Brannan, Cenovus Executive Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer. “We’re very pleased with the early completion of the phase D expansion and anticipate a successful ramp-up to full capacity.”
Phase D is planned to produce approximately 40,000 bbls/d. Cenovus expects the production ramp-up to be complete in six to nine months, similar to the ramp-up of phase C and considerably faster than the industry average. The efficient ramp-ups achieved at Christina Lake are due to the high quality of the reservoir and the use of accelerated start-up techniques. Commissioning of the phase D facilities is almost complete and will bring total production capacity at Christina Lake to 98,000 bbls/d. With additional expansions and optimization, Cenovus anticipates Christina Lake will have a total production capacity of about 300,000 bbls/d.
“Cenovus has decades of growth ahead in the oil sands,” said Brannan. “The manufacturing approach we use to develop our oil sands projects supports this long-term growth. We plan to bring on a new phase of oil sands production every 12 to 18 months for the next five years and we also have a portfolio of emerging oil sands projects to develop.”