MRO Magazine


Suncor advances planned turnaround to minimize outage impact

Calgary – Suncor today provided an update on the Syncrude Mildred Lake Oil Sands facility following the March 14 incident.

The incident involves an explosion and fire at the facility’s bitumen upgrader. One worker was subsequently sent to hospital in serious condition.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the cause of the incident was a loss of containment on a line near one of the naphtha hydrotreating units. Damage has largely been isolated to a piperack adjacent to the hydrotreater, containing piping, cables, and electrical circuits.

Syncrude has advanced the planned eight-week turnaround originally scheduled to begin in April in order to mitigate the impact of the unplanned outage. Beginning this week, Suncor expects to handle volumes of untreated Syncrude production to assist in managing inventory.

Pipeline shipments of treated product are expected to resume at up to 50 per cent capacity in April, gradually ramping up to full rates after the turnaround is completed.

For the first two months of the year, Syncrude operated reliably at utilization rates of approximately 95 per cent. Suncor has also seen strong production from its other oil sands assets and offshore operations. As a result, the company does not expect this outage to result in a change to Suncor’s overall production guidance for 2017.

Suncor said it extends its best wishes for a speedy recovery to the Syncrude employee who was injured in the incident.