|Owners||Suncor Energy Inc. - 100%|
|Operator||Suncor Energy Inc.|
304.7 mbbls/d (mining+in-situ) (2011)
|Deposit Type||Sedimentary bituminous sands|
|Reserves & Resources||
1,164 mmbbls (net proved & probable, December 2011)
|Mining Method||Open pit|
Crushing, frothing, primary & secondary upgrading
|Mining Equipment||Trucks (240t) & shovels (58 cu. yd.)|
|Processing equipment||Crushers, screens, hydro-transport pumps, separation vessels, diluent recovery unit, coker|
P.O. Box 4001
Last updated: June 13, 2012
The Millennium mine site is located near Fort McMurray in northern Alberta,
Suncor is an integrated energy company which pioneered the world's first commercially successful oil sands operation in 1967 near Fort McMurray, in northeastern Alberta. Today, with total production nearing the one billion barrel mark and enough reserves to sustain production for the next 50 years, the company remains a leader in oil sands development. Suncor Energy Inc. recovers bitumen from oil sand and upgrades it to refinery-ready feedstock (the raw crude oil fed to refineries for processing into transportation fuels and lubricants) and diesel fuel.
Suncor's Oil Sands Base operations include the Millennium and Steepbank (including North Steepbank Extension) open pit mining and extraction operations, two integrated upgrading facilities (Upgrader 1 and 2) , and the associated infrastructure - utilities, energy and reclamation facilities such as Tailings Reduction Operations (TRO) assets.
In late 2011, the company started to mine a new mining resource, the North
Steepbank Extension (NSE). During the same year the company spent $622 million
on the implementation of the TRO, and an additional $110 million on tailings
drying facilities. The new hydrogen plant for the Millennium Naphta Unit
(MNU) was operational for a short period in December 2011. The start of the
naphta hydrotreater for the MNU is expected in 2012.
These growth projects are projected to produce a reliable, long-term energy supply while leveraging technology to minimize environmental and social impacts of resource development in the Athabasca region.
Suncor is 35 km north of Fort McMurray in northeastern Alberta, Canada. Fort McMurray is 435 km northeast of Edmonton on Highway 63 and about 60 km west of the Saskatchewan border. It is the hub of the oil sands business with a population of about 75,000.
Fort McMurray Airport is served by national, regional and charter flights to major cities and fly-in / fly-out bush camps. Flights are frequently booked to capacity because of the high transient worker population and people unwilling to drive on Highway 63. There is freight train service to Edmonton, but no passenger service.
Four rivers meet at Fort McMurray: the Athabasca, Clearwater, Horse, and Hangingstone. Other than mining this is an area of outdoor activities -- hunting, fishing, cross-country skiing in winter, canoeing in summer. The Athabasca region is famous for freshwater fishing on its rivers and lakes. Six of the province's seven top fishing lakes are here. The angler can fish for for perch, northern pike, whitefish, lake trout, goldeye and arctic grayling.
The climate ranges from average temperatures of -19.8Â°C in January to +16.6Â°C in July. Annual rainfall is 334.5 mm and snowfall is 172.0 cm.
Alberta's oil sand is sand and rock which contains a heavy oil called bitumen. Oil sand is composed of approximately 70% sand and clay, 10% water, and anywhere from 0% to 18% oil. There are over one trillion barrels of bitumen in the Athabasca oil sands in an area of approximately 40,000 square kilometres.
The sand was deposited in layers. Approximately 100 million years ago, streams flowed from the Rocky Mountains in the west and from the Precambrian Shield in the east. These streams brought sand and shale which filled in between the ridges running through Alberta and Saskatchewan. Eventually the area was the location of an ancient inland sea which spread the sand more widely. The sands became saturated with oil either because they were formed locally and never moved or because the oil flowed from elsewhere into the sand deposits.
The sand is a silica quartz and is extremely abrasive. The abrasive nature
of the sand poses significant challenges in the mining and extraction of oil
sand. The Athabasca Oil Sands are hydophillic. Each grain of sand is surrounded
by a film of water, which is then surrounded by oil. The sands are held firmly
together by grain to grain contact. This bond is broken in the hot water
Suncor's mining and in situ leases cover over 1,800 square km and contain nearly 13 bilion barrels of bitumen resources. The Base Mine and upgrader are located on the west bank of the Athabasca River and the Steepbank and Millennum Mines are on the east side of the Athabasca River. The Base Mine closed in 2002.
Suncor's Firebag in situ operation is located 40 kilometres northeast of the plant. In situ technology has the potential to recover large underground reserves. An independent evaluation of Suncor's in situ leases estimates recoverable resources with a potential to produce about nine billion barrels of crude oil.
The Millennium site, located near Fort McMurray in northern Alberta, is the
focus of Suncorâ€™s current oil sands mining operations.
Millennium as well as Steepbank are conventional truck and shovel mining operations.
The company started mining ore from the North Steepbank Extension (NSE) in late December 2011.
Suncor produces bitumen in two ways: Surface Mining and In Situ. In situ
bitumen extracting operations are undertaken at Firebag and Mackay River.
Surface mining is being done at Millennium and Steepbank by using large trucks and shovels to extract the oil sands. Only 20% of all oil sands are close enough to the surface to be mined. The reclamation process begins as soon as mining operations are completed.
Oil sand is a mixture of bitumen, sand and water. Because it does not flow like conventional crude oil, it must be mined or heated underground before it can be processed. Oil sands business recovers bitumen through surface mining and steam injection technologies and upgrades it into refinery-ready crude oil products. Suncor extracts and upgrades bitumen using the following process:
Hot water is used to separate the bitumen from the sands. This step is called extraction and is not required for in situ bitumen.
Bitumen is heated and sent to drums where excess carbon (in the form of petroleum coke) is removed. The superheated hydrocarbon vapours from the coke drums are sent to fractionators where vapour condenses into naphtha, kerosene and gas oil. The end product is synthetic crude oil. It is shipped by underground pipelines to refineries across North America to be refined into jet fuels, gasoline and other petroleum products.
The new hydrogen plant for the Millennium Naphta Unit (MNU) was operational for a short period in December 2011. The start of the naphta hydrotreater for the MNU is expected in 2012.
Many of Suncor's operations are located on or near traditional Aboriginal
lands. Their needs and priorities must be heard when deciding how we operate
Suncor is working to develop strong, mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal communities near our operations in northeastern British Columbia, the oil sands of northern Alberta, the Great Lakes of Ontario and in the United States. We are guided by our Aboriginal Affairs Policy that is built around the principles of responsibility, recognition and respect.