​7 photos of STP-McKay, the first oilsands project on its way to the Orphan Well Association

Overall view of the STP-McKay project. Image: Joey Podlubny/JWN

Update: In December 2017 PwC applied to the Alberta Energy Regulator to transfer ownership of all STP assets in Alberta to Viceroy Resources Canada Corp. as a result of an asset purchase agreement.

The court-appointed receiver of junior oilsands player Southern Pacific Resource Corp. has asked the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta to turn "any unsold portion" of the company's SAGD project over to the Orphan Well Association, a first for a sector increasingly concerned with liabilities.

Southern Pacific experienced performance issues right from the start of STP-McKay operations in mid-2012, first adjusting stream strategy and then by installing flow control devices and steam splitters, all without much success.

STP-McKay failed to exceed average monthly production of 2,300 bbls/d against nameplate capacity of 12,000 bbls/d, according to the Daily Oil Bulletin’s oilsands datasets.

The project's inability to reach production capacity impacted Southern Pacific's ability to remain an ongoing concern, and in 2015 the company announced plans to "hibernate" the facility to enable preservation of the asset for an extended period of time. The company’s creditors soon after filed a court application to place it into receivership, with PwC Canada appointed as monitor.

Orphan Well Association executive director Lars De Pauw told the DOB that the project will not be a challenge for the agency to manage.

JWN's Oilsands Review magazine visited STP-McKay in 2012. Here are some of the photos, taken by Joey Podlubny.


Evaporator towers for water treatment.


Steam generation equipment including heat recovery steam generators.


SAGD well pad.


Control room.


Camp facilities.