Imperial Oil Focuses on the Long-Term Plans

Imperial Oil hosted an Open House, Neighbour Night, on November 19th, to welcome community members, answer questions regarding the operations, and explain various operations within the facility. Neighbour Night served as a perfect opportunity to let the public in on plans for the oil company. With economic uncertainties running wild in Alberta, Imperial Oil says it plays to the long-game, and will not vary its course drastically because of low oil prices.

Neighbour Night, explains Senior Media Advisor for Imperial Oil, Pius Rolheiser, “is a chance for us to share information and show off in effect. We’re really proud of Cold Lake, it’s a world-class operation. We’re quite proud of that. [The Open House] is a chance to show that and find out questions, concerns, issues the people have, our neighbours.”

“A lot of people know that Imperial has an operation out there somewhere, but they don’t really know anything about it,” Rolheiser explains Neighbour Night allows the company to show different sides of their facitility that the public may not be aware of, “they may not know about the technology that we’re using, how we’re getting the oil out of the ground, and where is it going.”

We have a high performing, world-class operation and we’re proud of it -Pius Rolheiser Imperial Oil Cold Lake

Imperial Oil believes strongly in transparency, allowing the public to know the answers to all those questions and more. For example, Imperial Oil is a leader in safety, says Rolheiser, “we pride ourselves on having the safest operation. We run an operation where everybody comes to work in the morning and everybody goes home at night, and nobody gets hurt. We sincerely pride ourselves on having the safest operation we can; nobody gets hurt on our site, whether it’s our employees, our contractors, well service companies, trucking companies.”

Imperial Oil looks at every factor in keeping people and the environment safe, says Rolheiser, “we’ve been operating on a commercial scale since 1985, our emissions per barrel of production have continuously improved and continue to improve. We’re actually looking at implementing a technology at our proposed Midzaghe project called solvent-assisted, steam-assisted gravity drainage, SA-SAGD. The application of SA-SAGD means we inject some solvent along with the steam, we believe that’ll result in significant reductions in the amount of greenhouse gases we emit, because we using less water and less natural gas to generate steam.”

We continuously push technology – Pius Rolheiser Imperial Oil Cold Lake

“In our last two expansions, Mankeses in 2003 and Nabiye which started in early 2015, both have electrical cogeneration plants,” Rolheiser says Imperial Oil keeps the environment top-of-mind, “which generates electricity, as well as steam, using less heat. This is much more efficient and results in less greenhouse emissions than generating steam in one place, and electricity in another. ”

Technology has helped Imperial Oil be more environmentally friendly, says Rolheiser, “maybe we didn’t have the technology in 2003 to reduce our emissions footprint. That’s one of the great things about Cold Lake, we’ve grown since commercial start-up in 1985 and we’ve grown in stages, and each stage is better than the one before it because the technology is better. Technology is constantly evolving.”

For our Cold Lake plans, as well as, other Imperial Oil growth plans, we don’t tie our growth plans to any particular piece of infrastructure – Pius Rolheiser Imperial Oil Cold Lake

With the Keystone XL pipeline project on a permanent halt, Rolheiser says there are many other options for Imperial Oil to get its product from Cold Lake to various markets. “The decision to proceed with the Midzaghe project is not dependent on a particular pipeline. Obviously, we need to have access to markets for our product and Imperial is supportive of additional pipelines.”

Imperial Oil broadened its transportation options in early 2015 through a joint-venture with Kinder Morgan. The companies opened a crude-by-rail loading terminal, the Edmonton Rail Terminal, which is conveniently located across the road from Imperial Oil’s Strathcona Refinery, says Rolheiser. The company has been shipping crude by rail since April 2015. “Our preference is always to ship by pipeline. Pipeline is safer, more economical, and it has a higher reliability,” states Rolheiser. “With the lack of new exports capacities, Imperial Oil is looking at rail transportation as a way of providing us with the capacity that we need until such a time as there is [another option].”

We haven’t laid off employees & we don’t have any plans to – Puis Rolheiser Imperial Oil Cold Lake

Imperial Oil has been hit, like every business, no matter the industry, by a poor economy and the low oil prices. Rolheiser says the company is looking at every option out there, rather than laying off its employees, “we are not immune to the business reality that the energy industry is in and a lot of the Province of Alberta is in. We’ve looked at literary every other way of reducing our costs; like what things can we do differently? What things can we stop doing? To improve our cost-performance.”

In terms of immediate plans, Imperial Oil plays the long-game, says Rolheiser. “We haven’t fundamentally changed our plans. We started the Nabiye expansion in 2015, we also started up a major expansion of our Kaerl Oilsands Mine, in Fort McMurray. We’re continuing to advance projects, in Cold Lake and elsewhere. When we look at projects and investments we take a really long-term view and a deliberate plan.”

Cold Lake’s best days are still ahead of us – Puis Rolheiser Imperial Oil Cold Lake

 

 

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