Imperial Gets Last of Kearl on Road

The foundation and underground services are in place at the first phase of the $8-billion Kearl Oil Sands project, seen in a recent aerial photo of the site north of Fort McMurray (Imperial Oil photo).

$11-billion plant on schedule to start up at year’s end

After months of delays, route changes, and extra work to disassemble huge oil sands modules sent from South Korea, the last loads are on the road to Imperial’s $10.9-billion Kearl project.

The final shipment of 33 modules left the Port of Lewiston, Idaho, last week on the way to Edmonton, where they will be reassembled and sent to Fort McMurray.

Meanwhile, about half of the 205 imported modules remain at the Port of Pasco, midway between Lewiston and the Port of Vancouver, Washington.  The Korean units represent about 20 percent of the modules needed for the vast Kearl project.  Almost all of the remainder were constructed in Edmonton-area yards, primarily in Nisku.

The Pasco modules are being disassembled and sent off in batches of two or three shipments twice a week, following a four-lane highway to Spokane, Washington, and Butte, Montana, then north to Alberta on a route that will take them east of Calgary.

“We’ve been moving multiple loads but on fewer nights,” said spokesman Pius Rolheiser.  Imperial has day park locations along the route.

Kearl is scheduled to start up at the end of this year with work now about 90 percent complete.

…Depending on weather and permits, all Pasco modules will be at Kearl by the summer.

…Imperial won’t be building an upgrader at Kearl but is using a patented paraffinic froth treatment system to produce a solids-free bitumen that will be blended with diluent and shipped by pipeline to North American refineries.

…A key feature of Imperial’s plan is to ship the Kearl diluted bitumen on the proposed 500,000 barrels-per-day TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, which has become a hot political issue in the U.S.

Read more: Imperial Gets Last of Kearl on Road

(By Dave Cooper, Edmonton Journal)

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