​Alberta premier participates in new oilsands project ribbon cutting

Premier Rachel Notley helps cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the Japan Canada Oil Sands Ltd. (JACOS) Hangingstone project near Fort McMurray. L-R: Kenji Akiyoshi; Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake; Premier Rachel Notley; Osamu Watanabe, JAPEX chairman; Fang Zhi; Chief Ron Kreutzer, Fort McMurray First Nation, Satoshi Abe, JACOS president. Image: Government of Alberta

Alberta premier Rachel Notley was on hand to cut the ribbon at the newly-commissioned Japan Canada Oil Sands (JACOS) Hangingstone SAGD expansion on Wednesday.

JACOS achieved first oil at the 20,000 bbl/d project south of Fort McMurray in August, and says it is now exceeding 1,000 bbls/d.

Construction began on the project in 2013. The SAGD wells were completed in 2015, followed by completion of the central processing facility earlier this year. Steam injection began in March.

“Good jobs for Albertans, billions of dollars in new investment and a growing economy – that’s what this expansion project means. I want to thank JACOS for their work here and underscore that it’s never been more important for us to get new pipelines built, which will help diversify our markets and further strengthen our ties with Asia,” Notely said in a statement.

Through JACOS, Japan began investing in oilsands production in the late 1970s, and was a key participant in the Underground Test Facility research project where the concept of SAGD was proven. It began operating its Hangingstone demonstration project in 1999.

That pilot project has now been suspended, and the new expansion is expected to reach its nameplate capacity by mid-2018.