Syncrude is one of the largest operators in Canada’s oil sands industry, with over 50 years of innovation and responsible operations.
Based in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Syncrude operates technologically-advanced oil sands mines, extraction and upgrading facilities, as well as utilities plants. A large research and development facility in Edmonton supports operations and has pioneered many of the technologies used today in the industry. Current production capacity is 350,000 barrels per day of high quality light, sweet crude oil, and cumulative shipments now exceed 2.5 billion barrels.
The Syncrude Project is a Joint Venture undertaking among Imperial Oil Resources; Mocal Energy Limited; Nexen Oil Sands Partnership; Sinopec Oil Sands Partnership; and Suncor Energy Inc. (with the Suncor interest held by Canadian Oil Sands Partnership #1 and Suncor Energy Ventures Partnership, both wholly owned affiliates of Suncor Energy Inc.).
The long life and high quality resource base of Syncrude’s oil sands leases provide our Joint Venture participants with a sound platform for continued sustainable operations and future growth. All of Syncrude’s leases can be mined and are among the best in the Athabasca deposit for quality of ore, and low total volume-to-bitumen in place, both of which enhance the economics of the Syncrude Project.
Choose one of the activities below to learn about our operations.
Syncrude's operations begin long before mining commences and finish long after the final scoop of oil sand is dug from a mine.
By clicking on this interactive process wheel, you are invited to learn more about the lifecyle of our operations and our approach to oil sands development.
Vegetation specialists manage native plants, shrubs and trees to recreate diverse boreal forest ecosystems. About a quarter of our footprint has either been fully reclaimed or is undergoing reclamation. Syncrude is the first oil sands operator to receive government certification for reclaimed land. Certification was received in 2008 for a 104-hectare area known as Gateway Hill, which was planted in the early 1980s.
Surveys and core sample drilling help us to gain better understanding of the oil sands resource on undeveloped leases, its quality and distance from the surface. Environmental assessments are also completed to provide a complete picture of local ecosystems, vegetation and geographical features to inform future reclamation. The oil sands found on Syncrude’s leases are accessed via mining operations. Syncrude does not operate in situ facilities.
The input and expectations of Aboriginal communities of interest and stakeholders are integral to our decisions. We also engage with all levels of government to understand present and future regulations, and with industry associations to improve performance. Syncrude is one of the largest employers of Aboriginal people in Canada.
Science and technology provide the keys to unlocking the potential of the oil sands resource and improving our performance. We were recognized as one of the top 100 corporate R&D spenders in Canada in 2015, investing about $55 million, and currently hold over 160 active Canadian and U.S. patents.
Syncrude helps sustain local and regional economies through the purchase of goods and services. In 2015, procurement amounted to about $3.3 billion. Governments also benefit through Syncrude’s payment of taxes and royalties.
Through fabrication, new construction and ongoing maintenance activities, we directly and indirectly employ many thousands of people across the country.
The Utilities plants produce steam, electricity and air to run the operation, and manage the water required to run plant operations. Syncrude is a net exporter of electricity to the Alberta power grid.
Shovels and trucks remove muskeg, overburden and earth overlying the oil sands at Syncrude’s Mildred Lake and Aurora sites. This material is put aside for reclamation activities. Shovels and trucks mine the oil sand, which is then mixed with warm water recovered from upgrading processes to create a slurry that is pumped by pipeline to our extraction facilities.
The slurry is fed into separation vessels, where the bitumen floats to the surface as froth. This froth is diluted with naphtha and fed into centrifuges, which spin out water and solids. Finally, the naphtha is removed, leaving clean bitumen which is piped to our upgrading operation.
The cleaned bitumen goes into one of Syncrude’s three fluid cokers or a hydrocracker, where it is thermally cracked into hydrocarbon gases, naphtha and gas oils. The hydrocarbon gases are treated for use as refinery fuel. The naphtha and gas oils are further treated and blended into high quality light, sweet crude oil.
Syncrude Sweet Blend crude oil becomes the property of the Joint Venture Participants upon being shipped from our site. The oil is transported by pipelines to refineries throughout North America, where it is turned into gasoline and diesel fuels, jet fuels and chemical feedstocks. Syncrude is not responsible for the transportation or marketing of our product.
Syncrude practices progressive reclamation. After mining is complete in a given area, work starts to reclaim the land. Overburden, sand and/or treated tailings fill up former mines. Engineers and reclamation scientists guide the design of the landscape while muskeg, peat and organic matter from the forest floor are transferred from future mine areas.
Syncrude Canada Ltd.
Government and Public Affairs
P.O. Bag 4009 M.D. Y201
Fort McMurray, AB T9H 3L1
Toll-free: (800) 667-9494