The Coke Boiler Replacement project is located at our Oil Sands Base Plant, 25 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. It will be constructed within the existing footprint of Base Plant Operations.
The project involves replacing three aging petroleum coke-fired boilers with two highly efficient natural gas cogeneration units. The use of cogeneration will generate approximately 800 megawatts (MW) of reliable, low-cost, low-carbon power to the Alberta Interconnected Electrical System and reduce emissions associated with steam production at Base Plant by approximately 25 per cent.
Existing coke-fired steam generation boilers at Base Plant provide a large portion of the steam requirements within our oil sands operations. This project will involve replacing these boilers with modern, highly efficient, natural gas-fired cogeneration technology, which generates two products: low-carbon electricity (which the province requires to meet its stated climate goals) and steam (which we require to supply our Base Plant operations).
The project will generate approximately 800 MW of additional reliable, low-cost, low-carbon intensity power to be exported to the Alberta Interconnected Electrical System.
We are focused on ensuring reliable steam supply for our facilities but believe that implementing cogeneration is the most cost and carbon-efficient method of producing both steam and power to meet demands.
With the 24/7 nature of our Base Plant operations, this is expected to provide a reliable and stable power source.
The Coke Boiler Replacement project has the potential to make a measurable environmental contribution in support of the provincial and national climate change strategy. The project is expected to reduce our air emissions, including sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, as well as net water intake.
A project description for the Coke Boiler Replacement Project was submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in December 2017. Suncor received all of the key approvals from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) in July 2018 and from the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) in November 2018.
All Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) approvals were received in July 2020. The project was sanctioned in September 2019. Construction began in the fall of 2019, with commissioning to the cogeneration units expected by the fourth quarter in Q4 2024. Suncor will continue to be engaged with all required regulatory agencies as the Project proceeds.
Construction peak will occur in 2023, with an expected in-service date between 2024 and 2025.
Our investment in the Coke Boiler Replacement project has the potential to benefit the economy, people and nearby communities through the creation of reliable and low-cost, low-GHG, electricity.
Consistent with Suncor’s commitment to continued investment in the region, this project may also:
- create employment opportunities
- promote economic growth and business development
- provide valuable revenues for governments
- increase access to education and training
- enhance community investment
We believe in informing our stakeholders about our activities and inviting them to participate in a transparent engagement process to help us understand the issues and opportunities from their perspectives.
- Community and stakeholder engagement is a key component of the Coke Boiler Replacement Project and we will continue to work closely with stakeholders throughout the project.
- This includes Indigenous communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB). Throughout this engagement process, Suncor seeks to build effective, long-term and mutually beneficial relationships.
Throughout construction, Suncor representatives will share information with RMWB communities in support of our regulatory obligations. Ongoing engagement will continue during start-up and commissioning.
We are committed to environmental stewardship. With 50 years of oil sands experience, we continue to consider new operating practices to enhance environmental performance.
As part of the project process, we will look at opportunities to optimize the environmental benefits which include reducing:
- net water intake,
- GHG emissions, and
- other air emissions, including sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.
Our project development plan reflects input provided by stakeholders including regulators and local Indigenous communities.