Syncrude oil sands project to run at lower rates through June

CALGARY, Alberta, Canada (Reuters) — The Syncrude Canada oil sands project will run at reduced rates in May and June while maintenance work that was brought forward after a fire at the plant last month is completed, according to majority-owner Suncor Energy.

Syncrude also issued an update to customers reiterating its most recent forecast that it will produce 5.3 MMbbl in May and 6.6 MMbbl in June.

The plant in northern Alberta has capacity to produce 350 Mbpd, but completely cut production in April after a fire in March damaged the facility and forced Syncrude to advance planned maintenance.

Suncor said that pipeline shipments would restart at approximately 50% of capacity in early May, and full production is expected by the end of June.

Investigations show that damage from the mid-March fire was mostly isolated to a piperack adjacent to a hydrotreater, the company added. Suncor does not expect the Syncrude outage to affect its overall 2017 production guidance, as output elsewhere should offset the cuts.

Production rates for May and June were expected to be lower even before the fire due to the scheduled turnaround, but the outages still sent synthetic crude prices surging higher in early April.

Written by Nia Williams and Catherine Ngai

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