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Oil Sands Maintenance Delay Adds Crude to Flooded Oil Market


By Robert Tuttle

(Bloomberg) Canadian oil sands producers are delaying maintenance at production sites, pushing more oil into the market at the worst possible time.Concerns about flying workers in from out of town as the coronavirus continues to spread led Syncrude Canada Ltd. to delay coker maintenance at its upgrader and Suncor Energy Inc. to push back planned work scheduled for May. The delays mean that synthetic crude that wasn’t expected to be entering the market will continue to flow. It comes as crude prices have fallen to a four-year low while the coronavirus pandemic pummels fuel demand and Saudi Arabia and Russia flood the market exports.

The Syncrude maintenance was forecast to cut majority-owner Suncor’s share of production by 45,000 barrels a day in the second quarter. Suncor’s planned work on its own upgrader in the quarter was to cut production by 70,000 barrels a day. Other planned maintenance in the spring includes:

  • The Scotford upgrader will run at just over half-capacity during a 55-day turnaround starting in April.
  • Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. will conduct maintenance on Athabasca Oil Sands Project mines.
  • Husky Energy Inc.’s Lloydminster upgrader to be under repair, affecting 40,000 barrels a day.
  • Canadian Natural plans work at its Jackfish site in late first quarter.
  • Imperial Oil Ltd. plans work at Cold Lake, one of two trains at Kearl oil-sands site.
  • Athabasca Oil Corp. will complete turnaround at Hangingstone site.


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