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Alberta approves new Suncor oilsands project

Last Updated Feb 19, 2020 at 5:28 pm MDT

Suncor's base plant with upgraders in the oil sands in Fort McMurray Alta, on Monday June 13, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

(EDIT: A previous version said construction could begin in 2022, but Suncor chose to defer sanctioning of Meadow Creek to 2023.)

The Alberta government gave its approval to Meadow Creek West, Suncor’s bitumen extraction project.

The joint venture between Suncor and Nexen Energy may go ahead with securing final investment and applying for licenses and local permits.

“Enabling projects like Meadow Creek West demonstrates our commitment to encouraging investment and creating good-paying jobs in our province.” Said Alberta Minister of Energy, Sonya Savage.

Meadow Creek West and Meadow Creek East are two independent in situ projects, which Suncor would operate.

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) received the application for Meadow Creek West in October 2017.

Suncor issued an application to the Alberta Energy Regulator for Meadow Creek East on Dec. 9, 2019.

Suncor deferred the sanctioning of both Meadow Creek projects to 2023.

Sophisticated operation

Construction would generate an estimated 3,200 jobs.

Once underway, Meadow Creek West would reside almost 30 kilometres south of town and nearly 35 kilometres southwest of Anzac.

Suncor said the project would produce 40,000 barrels of bitumen per day, create 200 jobs. and operate for at least 40 years.

Suncor’s Meadow Creek West consists of a number of facilities and wells.

To recover the bitumen from the McMurray Formation, Suncor said they would use steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) technology.

Along with a central processing facility, there would be a number of associated facilities, assorted wells, pads, and infrastructure.

The application, which includes the full list of facilities, is available on the AER website.