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Suncor resumes pipeline shipments from Mildred Lake oilsands plant

EBR Staff Writer Published 02 May 2017

Pipeline shipments from the Syncrude Mildred Lake upgrader in Alberta's oil sands have restarted after a fire in March this year, which forced the facility to shut down.

Syncrude majority owner Suncor said the necessary repairs and start-up activities had been completed.

Currently, the shipments are at around 140 kbpd, and are expected to be increased when additional units complete turnaround activities.

Suncor expects the production to completely resume by next month. When fully operational, the facility is expected to produce around 350,000 barrels per day.

On 19 March, the company has provided an update on the Syncrude facility, which included the preparation of a detailed repair schedule and return to service plan.

The firm’s investigation and inspection showed that damage was largely isolated to a piperack adjacent to the hydrotreater.

On 27 March, the firm again provided an update on the facility that included the preliminary investigation, which revealed the cause of the incident was a loss of containment on a line near one of the naphtha hydrotreating units.

The company has isolated the damaged portion to a piperack beside to the hydrotreater, which is comprised of piping, cables, and electrical circuits.

At that time, the firm said Syncrude has advanced the planned eight-week turnaround originally scheduled to begin in April to mitigate the impact of the unplanned outage.

In April 2016, Suncor agreed to acquire 5% stake in Syncrude Canada joint venture from Murphy Oil for approximately C$937m ($743m).

With the acquisition, Suncor's stake in the Syncrude joint venture  has increased to 53.74% interest from the 48.74% stake.