Have I mentioned how huge Suncor's
Just like last year, there have been some bumps in the road to bitumen Babylon. Unscheduled maintenance activity and an emissions-related production cap both hindered Suncor's output for the quarter. The company got lucky with the rise in crude, and in cash flow terms, price ultimately trumped production. While total upstream production, including natural gas, dipped a bit over 10% compared to last year, cash flow from operations lifted 37%.
Suncor's Firebag project is the one that got capped by regulators for emitting too much sulphur. This is one of the biggest steam-assisted gravity drainage operations in Canada, even bigger than Devon Energy's
Aside from the hiccups, Suncor's production was also lower on account of a major project on one of its two bitumen upgraders. Last year it was the other upgrader that got a makeover. These upgraders, along with a third one that's under construction, are key to Suncor's roadmap to 550,000 barrels of daily production by 2012.
Of course, Suncor's not the only option in the oil sands. Occidental Petroleum