Imperial reducing 2019 capital spending on Aspen delay

Imperial Oil CEO Rich Kruger. Image: Imperial Oil

Imperial Oil is decreasing its planned spending on the Aspen oilsands project this year by almost 70 percent.

The company gave the green light to the project in November 2018 but a few months later announced a delay of at least one year due to the impacts of Alberta’s crude oil curtailment.

The project is expected to be the first commercial-scale application of solvent-assisted technology in thermal oilsands production, designed to improve recoveries while reducing costs and environmental impacts.

The 75,000-bbl/d project was initially expected to startup in 2022.

“Our original plan called for capital expenditures on Aspen of about $800 million this year…We now anticipate capital expenditures on Aspen of roughly $250 million this year,” Imperial CEO Rich Kruger told analysts on Friday.

He added that the company is executing the ramp down “in such a way that will enable us to efficiently resume full-scale project actives when we judge the time is right.”

As a result of the reduction in Aspen spending, Imperial now expects its overall capex in 2019 to be $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion compared to the $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion expected previously.