​Cenovus Christina Lake rises to top of thermal oilsands production

Image: Cenovus Energy

As of March 2017, Cenovus Energy Christina Lake became the second thermal oilsands project to realize monthly average production above 200,000 bbls/d.

According to the Daily Oil Bulletin’s oilsands datasets, Christina Lake production averaged 212,932 bbls/ in March, up from 197,925 bbls/d in February and 193,410 bbls/d in January.

The increases are due to the start-up of the project’s Phase F expansion, which Cenovus says started adding volumes in late 2016. Phase F has capacity of 50,000 bbls/d, bringing total capacity at Christina Lake to 210,000 bbls/d. This means that the project is already delivering above its nameplate within months of achieving first production.

The achievement also pushed Christina Lake into top position as the largest thermal oilsands project, above Suncor Energy’s Firebag facility, which currently averages about 202,000 bbls/d.

Firebag moved above 200,000 bbls/d in late 2014 with the completion of ramp-up at Firebag Stage 4, which increased project capacity to 203,000 bbls/d.

The third spot on the list is currently also occupied by Cenovus Energy, with 2017 production at Foster Creek averaging 161,486 bbls/d so far.

Cenovus Energy's acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ share in Christina Lake and Foster Creek has closed, the company announced on Wednesday, providing it the ability to realize the full benefit of the projects’ cash flow versus 50 percent previously.

Cenovus recorded a netback of $20.08/bbl at Foster Creek in the first quarter of 2017, and a $22.79/bbl netback at Christina Lake.

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