One of Total's two principal assets in the Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta is the Joslyn permit. The French company owns 74% and operates the project to extract bitumen from the permit (primarily through mining but also through the steam-assisted gravity drainage [SAGD] technique). The first phase, using SAGD, began production in 2006. Total anticipates that regulators will approve plans to develop the two subsequent phases, the Joslyn North Mine and the Joslyn South Mine, in 2009 and 2014, respectively. According to the company, the Joslyn Lease should yield 2 billion barrels of bitumen over a 30-year period.
Total's other oil sands asset in Alberta is the Surmont Project, of which it owns a 50% stake. Bitumen of 8 degrees API quality is being produced from Surmont using SAGD. By the beginning of the next decade, production from the permit should reach 100,000 b/d. Total estimates that the SAGD project should ultimately reach 200,000 b/d production for three decades.
In anticipation of increased production from Joslyn and Surmont, Total has proposed locating a delayed coker technology upgrader in Edmonton. The company has filed an integrated application for the project with both Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and Alberta Environment. The application includes a description of the upgrader and an assessment of its impact on the environment as well as socio-economic factors.
Total expects to make a final decision on whether to proceed with the project in 2009 following the completion of basic engineering studies and regulatory approval. Construction may begin in Fourth Quarter 2009, with the facility beginning operation in 2015. During the first phase of operation, the upgrader would have a processing capacity of 150,000 b/d. Approximately 3-4 years later, the facility would enter Phase 2 and capacity would rise to 245,000 b/d. With subsequent optimization, the facility's capacity could reach 295,000 b/d.
Total would need as many as 4,000 workers to construct the upgrader, and the upgrader would employ 300-400 individuals.