Some facts and information about the Lewis proposed project
Proposed in situ oil sands development
Lewis is a proposed multi-stage in situ project. Wholly owned by Suncor, the Lewis project is located in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, approximately 25 kilometres northeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta and approximately 18 kilometres southeast of Fort McKay. The total project area is estimated to cover 25,570 hectares or 256 square kilometres; disturbed land area is predicted to be 2,500 hectares or 25 square kilometres.The project will be developed in stages, with anticipated production up to a total of 160,000 barrels per day of bitumen during its estimated 25 to 40-year operational life.
Suncor continues to innovate and is exploring new technologies to develop the Lewis resource. The primary option at this time is steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) supported by the cogeneration of electricity.
An application for Lewis was submitted to the Alberta Energy Regulator on February 16, 2018.
Detailed information about our project can be found below.
Lewis is located approximately 25 kilometres northeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta and approximately 18 kilometres southeast of Fort McKay. The total project area is estimated to cover 25,570 hectares or 256 square kilometres; disturbed land area is predicted to be 2,500 hectares or 25 square kilometres.
The figure below identifies the location of the project and the area that has been studied.
Suncor has applied for the regulatory approval of the Lewis project and estimates that construction could begin in 2024, with first oil expected in 2027; this project has not yet been formally sanctioned for construction.
Lewis is considered a valuable addition to our suite of potential in situ growth projects. Suncor is fortunate to have a number of exceptional assets available for future development, and will continue to assess Lewis as part of our focused and disciplined growth program. The formal sanctioning decision would come following regulatory approval of the project and would depend upon favourable economic, social and regulatory conditions.
Steam assisted gravity drainage – or SAGD – is an in situ process that uses steam to heat bitumen (a thick form of crude oil) so it can be pumped to the surface.
The process works as follows:
- Two horizontal, parallel wells are drilled one on top of the other into the oil sands reservoir.
- The upper well introduces steam into the reservoir.
- The steam heats and softens the bitumen, which then flows by gravity down to the lower well.
- The bitumen and water are pumped to the surface and transported to processing facilities to be separated.
- The bitumen is refined into products such as gasoline and diesel or sent directly to the sales market.
As Suncor prepares for the future, the community continues to be an important part of responsible development.
Suncor will provide stakeholders with opportunities to participate in an open and transparent consultation process that facilitates engagement, participation and input into the proposed Lewis project. Information about the project, including upcoming open houses and other updates, will be posted in local newspapers, through community bulletins and by other means.
We know Aboriginal Peoples want to play a larger role in how energy is developed – from the project concept through to reclaiming the land back to its original state. We recognize this and are committed to focusing on strengthening our relationships with Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.
An important part of this will be updating existing traditional land use and traditional environmental knowledge by consulting with Aboriginal communities.
We will work closely with Aboriginal communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo throughout this process, seeking to build effective, long-term and mutually beneficial relationships.
Suncor is exploring new processes and technologies to enhance environmental performance by:
- reducing the amount of water and natural gas used
- limiting greenhouse gas emissions levels and air contaminants
- reducing the time it takes to reclaim disturbed lands
Suncor will work to incorporate the latest information and technology developments into the Lewis project to minimize our impact on the environment.
The Lewis application to the Alberta Energy Regulator will include a conservation and reclamation plan. We are committed to ultimately returning lands disturbed by our oil sands mining and in situ operations to a self-sustaining boreal forest ecosystem native to the area.
Suncor works with government, industry and community groups to develop a coordinated, long-term approach to address social and economic effects of oil sands development.
Suncor’s investment in the Lewis project could benefit nearby communities through:
- employment opportunities
- promotion of economic growth and business development
- valuable revenues for governments
- education and training
- community investment