A third key business driver for us is the progress we are making towards filling the upgrader at Long Lake. As we disclosed a few weeks ago, we are ahead of schedule on pads 12 and 13, largely due to some technology advances that shorten the steam circulation phase. We are now generating record steam levels and are getting close to the capacity of the existing steam plant. As a result, since we move forward, we will direct our steam to the best available reservoir and start shutting in some of our poorest wells. This may cause a different production in the short term as the new wells ramp up, but it will pay off quickly with steam going into the better part of the reservoir.

We're also just about to start drilling on pads 14, 15 and K1A. These pads are on track to be steaming in late 2013 and into '14. This schedule should allow us to fill the upgrader by late 2015 or early part of 2016.

The final thing I'd like to emphasize is that we continue to build a solid foundation for future growth, particularly in the Norphlet play in the Gulf of Mexico. We had another success in the Appomattox area this quarter. Our appraisal of the south fault block found a very thick oil column and excellent reservoir quality, which is at the upper end of what we were expecting. We are in the process of assessing the impact on our previously reported discoveries of 150 million barrels net our interest.

The rig is getting ready to drill a sidetrack in the northwest fault block to test whether the oil stayed trapped there also. The rig will then continue to drill in the area doing a combination of appraisal and further exploration. And we have as many as 5 more wells planned over the next 12 months. We are obviously very excited with the story that is unfolding from this area in the Gulf of Mexico.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com

If you liked this article you might like

ConocoPhillips, Nexen Cut Canadian Synthetic Crude Output

Canada Won't Allow Chinese State Owned Enterprises Into Oil Sands

Canada Says It's Critical to Diversify its Markets for Oil and Gas

Canadian Natural Resource Minister: Fuel Quality Directive Unscientific

Nexen Inc. Stock Hold Recommendation Reiterated (NXY)