Total SA recently reported it will suspend engineering and design work on the $11 billion (Can.) Joslyn Creek steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) oil sands project, 60 km north of Fort McMurray in Alberta.
The company was exceeding the approved steam injection pressure at the thermal bitumen project in 2006 when the reservoir cap rock was breached, blasting a huge crater into the ground and hurling rocks hundreds of metres into the air. The Joslyn project was the shallowest SAGD development in Alberta, with horizontal steam injection wells at less than 100 m in depth.
After the incident, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) imposed operating pressure restrictions.
In 2010, Total shut down the project "based largely on the poor scheme economics due to operating pressure restrictions, monitoring requirements and shut-in well pairs".
Joslyn was originally designed to deliver 100,000 b/d of bitumen with an $8 billion (Can.) budget, but was later scaled upwards to a capacity of 160,000 b/d with an even larger budget. It was slated to start production in 2017-18.