Canada: Oh Canada - Significant Developments in Canadian Energy - May 2011

Last Updated: June 15 2011

Article by Doug Black , Anne Calverley , Douglas E. Crowther , Bill Gilliland , Alex MacWilliam , Richard A. Miller , Claude Morency , Cyrus Reporter , Ron Stuber and Helen T. Newland

Oil Sands News

1. Injections are expected to begin soon at BlackPearl's Mooney project in the Athabasca Oil Sands, where polymer injection facilities have been completed. The company expects to be able to assess pilot performance, re-pressurize the reservoir and experience increased volumes within six to twelve months of steam injection. It is anticipated that the first phase of the polymer flood will achieve peak rates of 3,000 to 4,000 bpd of heavy oil.

1. In the first quarter of 2011, overall mined oil sands output in Canada was up almost 26% relative to the same quarter last year, reaching up to 748,069 bpd of synthetic crude oil. Syncrude Canada had a record performance in the quarter, producing 321,000 bpd, which equates to roughly 119% of the production in the first quarter of 2010. Taking into account the planned coker turnaround in the second half of this year, Canadian Oil Sands Limited anticipates Syncrude production of 301,400 bpd in 2011.

1. The Kearl oil sands mining project, jointly owned 71% by Imperial (as Operator) and 29% by ExxonMobil, is approximately two-thirds complete and is on target to commence first oil production in late 2012. Initial production at the 345,000 bpd facility is anticipated to be about 110,000 bpd. Kearl will be the first bitumen mining operation involving just a single processing phase, whereby bitumen will be refined only once at a downstream facility, rather than being processed both in an upgrader and subsequently in a refinery.

East Coast News

2. Technip has been awarded a contract by Hibernia Management and Development Company for work associated with the Hibernia South Extension project, including engineering, procurement and construction services as well as installation of subsea equipment. The project is part of the continuing development of the Hibernia field, located on the Grand Banks offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.

3. Contact Exploration is continuing discussions toward obtaining a joint venture partner for development of its shale gas resources on its lands in the Hillsborough region of the Moncton sub-basin in southern New Brunswick. The best estimate of prospective gas resources on these shale gas lands is 2.14 tcf.

4. Forent Energy plans to raise $5 million in equity capital to produce oil from the reef-like structures identified by a gravity gradiometry survey on its Alton Block property in Nova Scotia. Forent is the largest onshore oil and gas landowner in Nova Scotia, and anticipates that there are a number of high potential exploration and development opportunities in its Alton and Beech Hill properties.

West Coast News

5. A new joint report from the National Energy Board and British Columbia's Ministry of Energy and Mines estimates that there may be as much as 78 tcf of gas in the Horn River basin, which is more than double the previous assessment. The vast majority of this volume consists of as of yet undiscovered resource.

5. CNRL plans to drill another eight wells near its Montney unconventional gas play near Septimus, British Columbia, all of which are expected to be online in 2012. So far this year, CNRL has outpaced the 50 mmcfpd design capacity of the plant, producing 60 mmcfpd of gas and 1,800 bpd of NGL. That production has led to improved reserve estimates, now considered to approximate 6 bcf per well for gas, which equates to a 50% increase in gas over previous estimates and an almost 2900% increase in NGLs to nearly 300,000 bbls per well.

Canadian Arctic News

6. The Northwest Territories Geoscience office is undertaking investigation of the potential for shale gas in the largely unexplored Horn River Group Strata in the Mackenzie Plain. The investigation will consist of a five-year field and subsurface-based study aimed at determining the unconventional potential of the area.

Numerous countries, including the United States, Canada, Russia and Denmark, have agreed with their Arctic indigenous peoples to negotiate measures for oil spill preparedness and response in the region and to develop an ecosystem-based management initiative to protect the area's environment.

Alternative Energy

7. Acconia Energy's $115 million 45MW Lamèque wind park in New Brunswick has entered commercial service. Acconia Energy is the owner and principle developer of the wind park. Acconia Windpower supplied thirty 1.5MW wind turbines for the wind park, and Acconia Infrastructure, in a temporary consortium with the Canadian company Tetra Tech, has undertaken the construction work.

8. REpower has signed two contracts for Canadian wind projects that cover the delivery, installation and maintenance of 55 REpower MM92 CCV turbines. These two contracts include the purchase of 40 wind turbines by EDF Energies Novelles for its Robert-Bellarmin wind farm in Quebec, and the purchase of 15 turbines by Wind Works Power for its Ganaraska and Whispering Woods wind farms in Ontario.

8. The United States division of the global solar technology giant, SolarWorld, has begun shipping panels to Innergex Renewable Energy's $140 million Stardale PV solar project under development in Ontario. The project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2012.

9. The Government of Saskatchewan has approved the construction of the $1.2 billion Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration project. The project, which will be among the world's first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage facilities, will transform a portion of the Boundary Dam Power Station into a new generating unit, with a generating capacity of 110 MW of electricity, in addition to capturing CO2 for use by industry in enhanced oil recovery of mature fields. Construction on the project will begin immediately, with operations projected to commence in 2014.

On the Horizon

Plan Nord, which is hailed as one of the largest and most ambitious projects ever undertaken by the province of Québec, is an $80 billion economic, social and environmental development plan aimed at strengthening Québec's economy and global competitiveness by leveraging sustainable development partnerships. The Plan will focus on the development of the area in Northern Québec above the 49th parallel and will be divided into five five-year phases, each of which will engage the First Nations, the Inuit and local communities. The first phase will involve a $2.1 billion public investment including significant investments in infrastructure and in social measures as well as a $500-million investment from Investissement Québec. These investments are intended to facilitate growth and development of mining, forestry, energy and other key industries in the province.


In this newsletter, all dollar amounts are Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated. We have also used the following abbreviations: bpd - barrels per day; mmcfpd - million cubic feet per day; bcfpd - billion cubic feet per day; tcf - trillion cubic feet; bbl - barrel; mbbl - thousand barrels; mmbbl - million barrels; bbbl - billion barrels; boe - barrels of oil equivalent; MW – megawatts; kV – kilovolt; km – kilometre.

About Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (FMC)

FMC is one of Canada's leading business and litigation law firms with more than 500 lawyers in six full-service offices located in the country's key business centres. We focus on providing outstanding service and value to our clients, and we strive to excel as a workplace of choice for our people. Regardless of where you choose to do business in Canada, our strong team of professionals possess knowledge and expertise on regional, national and cross-border matters. FMC's well-earned reputation for consistently delivering the highest quality legal services and counsel to our clients is complemented by an ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion to broaden our insight and perspective on our clients' needs. Visit:

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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