An oil sands project
Foster Creek is one of our two producing oil sands projects. Foster Creek is located about 330 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, Alberta on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range — an active Canadian military base. The oil at Foster Creek sits about 450 metres below the surface — so deep that we have to use technology, called steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), to drill and pump the oil to the surface.
Foster Creek began as a pilot project in 1996 and started commercial production in 2001 as the industry’s first commercial project to use SAGD technology. Foster Creek is one of the most efficient SAGD facilities in the industry because of our low steam to oil (SOR) ratio. A low SOR 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. Foster Creek is part of our 50/50 joint venture with ConocoPhillips.
We currently have six phases (A-F) producing at Foster Creek. In 2015, we produced an average of 130,000 gross barrels of oil per day. Construction is nearing completion on phase G and we’re anticipating it will start producing oil in the third quarter of 2016.
Due to the significant decrease in crude oil prices starting in late 2014, construction of phase H is currently on hold. In the fourth quarter of 2014, we received regulatory approval for phase J.