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Cenovus Energy Inc. received approval from the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) to proceed with its Narrows Lake oil sands project. Narrows Lake is just north of Cenovus's currently operating Christina Lake facility, near Conklin, Alberta, Canada. The project is anticipated to have gross production capacity of 130,000 barrels per day (b/d) and be developed in three phases. Ground work for the initial phase of 45,000 b/d is expected to begin this fall.
Project approval from Cenovus and its partner, ConocoPhillips, is expected by the end of this year. First production at Narrows Lake is anticipated in 2017, with the possibility of production starting in 2016, depending on industry activity and the associated demand for labor and materials. The Narrows Lake project has an expected life of four decades.
Cenovus plans to apply learnings from its years of experience with steam-assisted gravity drainage in the oil sands to develop Narrows Lake. The company also plans to initially demonstrate solvent aided process (SAP) on 25% of the wells and eventually phase in SAP across the entire Narrows Lake operation.
“Narrows Lake is an excellent example of how we're applying innovation as we grow our oil sands operations,” said John Brannan, Cenovus executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Learnings from the SAP pilot projects at Christina Lake have the potential to improve production and decrease the environmental impact at Narrows Lake. In addition, efficiencies implemented at the newest Christina Lake expansion phases will be applied and improved upon at Narrows Lake.”