The Voyageur expansion is a key step in Suncor's long-term goal of responsibly increasing crude oil production to our target of 550,000 barrels per day. Suncor's Voyageur growth strategy received approval from our Board of Directors in January 2008 but was subsequently delayed due to economic conditions. The expansion, which is still expected to proceed in stages, has three main components:
- Four new stages of in situ bitumen production, which will be added to Suncor's existing in situ operation
- A new upgrader (Suncor's third) to be located just west of Suncor's existing operation
- Other infrastructure including pipelines, camps, administration facilities, cogeneration, tank farms and a traffic interchange on Highway 63.
Suncor is investing in new technologies that will enable our business to grow while also minimizing the impacts of our growth on the environment and our communities.
Land. We are expanding in situ operations, which use only about 15% of the land normally disturbed by oil sands mining and do not produce tailings.
Air quality. We plan to spend more than $1 billion to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions from our third upgrader and expanded in situ operations.
Water. We are planning to invest $225 million to improve water management. As a result, we did not seek an increase in our Athabasca River water licence for our new upgrader.
Housing. Temporary construction workers will be housed in camps to reduce pressure on Fort McMurray's short-term housing market.
Roads. Construction of an interchange on Highway 63 will connect the new upgrading facilities with Suncor's existing operations while allowing safe traffic flow on the highway.
2009 Outlook. In keeping with Suncor's revised 2009 capital spending plan, construction on the Voyageur upgrader and Firebag Stage 3 will be wound down and the projects placed in a “safe mode” pending resumption of expansion work. Construction restart and completion targets for these projects, and start up and completion targets for all other expansion projects, have not been determined. Capital growth plans will be reviewed on a quarterly basis in light of market conditions and updates provided as details are known.