​BlackPearl’s new Saskatchewan thermal oil project to be finished months ahead of schedule

BlackPearl Resources CEO John Festival. Image: Todd Korol/JWN

The schedule for BlackPearl Resources’ new thermal oil project in Saskatchewan has shifted and now is likely to be completed about six months ahead of the original plans.

The 6,000 bbl/d Onion Lake Phase 2 project, which was sanctioned in February 2017, may now realize first steam just about one year after groundbreaking.

“Construction is currently ahead of schedule and costs are in line with our original estimates of $185 million,” BlackPearl said in its third quarter 2017 results.

“Fabrication of the modules for the central processing facilities and well pads were approximately 85 percent complete at the end of the quarter and the modules continue to be shipped out to site for assembly and tie-in.”

All 14 horizontal production wells have been drilled as well as 29 of 39 planned steam injection wells, the company said, with drilling expected to be complete by the end of November.

“We now anticipate construction to be completed and initial steam injection to occur as early as the end of Q1 2018, with first oil expected in Q3 2018. We anticipate reaching peak production approximately 12 months after initial steam injection, a similar timeline achieved for phase 1,” BlackPearl said.

Construction of the initial 6,000 bbl/d Onion Lake Phase 1 was completed in May 2015 and deemed commercial five months later. BlackPearl reports it has operating costs under $10/bbl.

The company also said it will “start working on a further expansion of Onion thermal in 2019.”

BlackPearl reported a net loss of $5.45 million for the third quarter of 2017, compared to a profit of $556,000 for the previous year period.