An oil sands project
Christina Lake is one of our two producing oil sands projects, and is located approximately 150 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray, in northeast Alberta. The oil at Christina Lake is about 375 metres underground. It’s so deep that we have to use specialized technology to drill and pump the oil to the surface. The technology we use is called steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD).
Construction of our pilot project at Christina Lake began in 2000 and first production occurred two years later. The project is expected to operate for more than 30 years. Christina Lake is part of our 50/50 joint venture with ConocoPhillips.
Christina Lake has a current gross production capacity of 210,000 barrels of oil per day, including the most recent expansion phase that began producing in the fall of 2016 and is expected to ramp up over a period of 12 months. In the first half of 2017, we plan to resume work on our next expansion, phase G, which had been deferred in late 2014 due to declining oil prices.
Today, our Christina Lake project is one of the most efficient SAGD facilities in the industry. It has a low steam to oil ratio (SOR), which means it uses less water and natural gas and creates fewer greenhouse gas emissions to produce a barrel of oil than other oil sands facilities of the same size. In 2016, the project had an average SOR of 1.9. This means we used approximately 1.9 barrels of steam to produce one barrel of oil.