Shell announced today 10 years of oil sands production as operator of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP). Starting with just a handful of employees, over the last 10 years Shell has built an oil sands mining and upgrading business capable of delivering over a quarter of a million barrels per day, providing 17% of Canada’s total oil production, and employing over 3,000 staff and thousands of contractors.
Since production began in 2003, the Athabasca Oil Sands Project has produced over 500 million barrels of oil – enough to power more than 3.1 million homes for a year - and made significant achievements in improving environmental performance. In 2004 the AOSP became the first oil sands mine in the world to receive ISO 14001 certification for environmental management. Last year Shell announced it would build the world’s first carbon capture and storage project in the oil sands to store over one million tonnes of CO2 more than 2kms underground. In recent years green house gas and water intensities have improved at the mines.
“I’m very proud of what has been achieved over the last 10 years,” said Lorraine Mitchelmore, president Shell Canada. “The oil sands are an important long-term business opportunity for Shell and an economic engine for Canada and beyond. We recognize that we must continue to improve the environmental performance of our oil sands operations if we are to compete in a world rightly asking more of the energy it uses. We believe economic and environmental performance go hand-in-hand and look to lead in both.”
Shell is also active in a number of oil sands industry initiatives, including Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, which is working to accelerate improvement in environmental performance by permitting oil sands operators to share environmental technologies and collaborate in their implementation.
Critical to AOSP success is the support of local First Nations, Métis groups and the community of Fort McMurray. Shell is proud to have invested over $1.25 billion with local Aboriginal businesses and several million in funding across the region for a variety of educational organizations and programs including the Northern Lights Health Region, the Father Patrick Mecredi Science and Technology Centre and most recently, Shell Place at McDonald Island Park.
“Over the next decade, Shell sees opportunities to invest in our oil sands operations and increase production while lowering the environmental footprint,” said Mitchelmore. “Our aim is to get more barrels for less carbon, less water and less impact to the land.”
Shell Canada Energy is 60 per cent owner and operator of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project along with Chevron Canada Limited (20 per cent) and Marathon Oil Corporation (20 per cent). The AOSP includes the Muskeg River Mine and Jackpine Mine, located near Fort McMurray, Alberta and the Scotford Upgrader, located near Edmonton, Alberta.