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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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“If Syncrude didn’t exist, and if for the past quarter of a century, conscientious men and dedicated women hadn’t braved the elements to persist in their quest, Canada would have no hopes of ever becoming self-sufficient in energy.”

From Peter C. Newman’s, Celebrating a Canadian Success Story, reprinted in A Billion Barrels for Canada: the Syncrude Story.

SyncrudeSyncrude Canada Ltd. is the world's largest producer of crude oil from the oil sands and the largest single source producer in Canada, producing about 13 percent of Canada's total oil needs. The founding president, Frank Spragins, believed that the oil sands held huge economic potential. He convinced his employer Imperial Oil to invest in a joint venture project with three other companies called the Athabasca Tar Sands Mildred Lake Project. This undertaking was later renamed the Syncrude project. The consortium formed Syncrude Canada Ltd. in 1964 with the objective to research the feasibility of mining the oil sands of Athabasca. The results were positive, as studies and research conducted by Mr. Spragins and his team proved the viability of mining the sands. In 1973, Syncrude built a production facility that took five years to complete; it opened in September 1978. Within twenty years, this company's initiative created staggering results. By 1998, Syncrude produced one billion barrels of oil, an even greater triumph because it was reached five years ahead of schedule.

SyncrudeSyncrude’s headquarters are located in Fort McMurray, with facilities in and north of Mildred Lake and operations on the Athabasca Oil Sands Deposit. Current projects for Syncrude involve further development of the Athabasca deposit. The company operates a large oil sand mine, utilities plant, bitumen extraction plant, and upgrading facility. One of their trademark products is Syncrude Sweet Blend (SSB), a light sweet crude oil for domestic and export markets. The next expansion forecasts increases in total daily production, which will include a multi-stage expansion for making sweet blend crude. Syncrude expects production levels of the Syncrude Sweet Blend to increase to 350,000 barrels per day by 2005.


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