Syncrude is one of the largest operations in Canada’s oil sands industry. In addition to the mining operations near Fort McMurray, Alberta, there is a significant research centre in Edmonton. Suncor became operator on September 30, 2021.

Two pieces of heavy earth moving machinery at at Suncor/Syncrude Mildred Lake Plant

Syncrude at a glance


Mildred Lake Plant Site
PO Bag 4009
Fort McMurray, Alta. T9H 3L1

The Syncrude joint venture began in 1964 and started mining at the Mildred Lake site in 1978. After more than 55 years of innovation, many of the processes used in the industry today were created by Syncrude, including an expanding suite of technologies to improve environmental and future economic performance. 

Suncor successfully assumed the role of operator of the Syncrude asset on September 30, 2021, a critical step towards driving greater integration, efficiencies and competitiveness across all Suncor-operated assets in the region. Assuming operatorship reflects our confidence in the Syncrude asset and we expect to improve operational performance, efficiency and competitiveness, and capture increased value by capitalizing on the collective strength of all of the Suncor-operated assets in the region. The change in operatorship is expected to generate annual gross synergies for the joint venture owners of $100 million in the first six months, with an additional $200 million through 2022-2023. 

Video: How we make oil at Syncrude

How Syncrude produces oil

Syncrude’s production process incorporates oil sands surface mining, followed by water-based extraction of the raw oil — known as bitumen — from the sand.

The bitumen is then upgraded into a high quality, light, sweet crude oil through fluid coking, hydroprocessing, hydrotreating and reblending.

The final product, Syncrude Sweet Premium, is sent by pipeline to Edmonton area refineries and then via pipeline terminals to refineries across Canada and into the United States.

While Syncrude’s operations produce the energy Canadians need, how it is done is equally important. Syncrude is focused on responsible development that encompasses research and innovation, Indigenous and regional engagement, environmental stewardship, providing a respectful and rewarding workplace, and generating shared value that benefits the country and local communities. 

Project ownership

Syncrude is jointly owned by four partners.

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