CNRL’s announcement of an increased budget does not mean new work will be happening in the Lakeland area, the oil producer said.
On Tuesday, Canadian Natural announced their capital budget was increasing by $250 million in the new year – adding approximately 60 drilling locations across Alberta and putting another three drilling rigs to work.
Julie Woo, spokesperson for Canadian Natural, signalled the province’s policy of curtailment as a barrier to increasing activity in the Bonnyville and Cold Lake area.
“Newly drilled conventional heavy oil wells that happen to be in designated oil sands areas continue to be subject to curtailment, limiting new opportunities in the Bonnyville and Cold Lake regions,” said Woo in an emailed statement.
“If the Alberta government removed newly drilled conventional heavy oil wells in designated oils sands areas from curtailment, then Canadian Natural would look to put an additional 6 drilling rigs to work in Alberta. This would include significantly more activity in the Bonnyville and Cold Lake regions,” she said.
Curtailment began in January 2019 as a measure to increase the value of oil production.
Production limits have eased as months progressed and in January of next year will remain at 3.81 million barrels per day, the same as December.
In 2019, Canadian Natural cited curtailment as the reason the ECHO pipeline could’ve shut-in costing over 2000 jobs.