Well NDPQ and Greenie Weenies how do you like that? Ready to supply XL with upgraded heavy oil, a major jump in finished refined product output, more than enough to handle demand in the coming years and another expansion with another upgrader just around the bend....
REGINA — The largest expansion project — in terms of dollars and production capacity — in the nearly 80-year history of the Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) in Regina is complete and ready for production.
In fact, production began Oct. 17 in the new units completed in the Section V expansion project, which will cost an estimated $2.66 billion when all the related revamp work is done.
“This is truly a historic event for our organization,’’ said Scott Banda, CEO of Federated Co-operatives Ltd., the Saskatoon-based company that owns the refinery and supplies petroleum and other consumer products to 230 retail co-operatives in Western Canada.
“We have made an enormous investment in the energy business and this is a part of it,” Banda told reporters Friday. “Our largest asset within our co-operative federation is this refinery complex and this expansion, when we add the revamp work taking place here, is a $2.66-billion project.’’
Section V consists of five new state-of-the-art processing units, which increases the total to 33 at the refinery, plus 14 additional storage tanks and vessels, as well as new firewater, flare, plant and instrument systems, a cooling tower and an electrical substation.
The Regina-based refinery now has the capacity to process up to 145,000 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) of crude oil, an increase of 45 per cent from its previous production capacity of 100,000 BOPD. That added 45,000 BOPD of capacity makes the Co-op Refinery Complex the fourth-largest refinery in Canada, behind the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, N.B. at 300,000 BOPD, Ultramar’s Valero refinery in Quebec City at 265,000 BOPD and Imperial Oil’s Edmonton refinery at 187,000 BOPD.
“It’s a project of massive proportions for this organization,’’ Banda said. “It’s a massive investment in Western Canada, one we’re very proud of and one we’re really excited about taking into the future and continuing to grow our business in Western Canada.’’
More than 150 companies provided services to the project. At peak construction, more than 5,000 people a day were on site, as the project provided almost 8,000 person years of employment and brought in excess of $5 billion in economic activity to Saskatchewan
Co-op Refinery Complex employs more than 800 people — including an additional 100 hired since the expansion — and its annual payroll is in excess of $100 million. More than 1,000 additional people are contracted annually during peak maintenance periods and routine maintenance turnarounds.
Bud Van Iderstine, senior vice-president of refinery operations for CRC, said the expansion project was initially budgeted at $1.9 billion, but higher-than-expected construction costs and additional revamp work to accommodate the Section V units increased the project cost by about 40 per cent.
“We were disappointed with the ... productivity levels of some of the contractors, but by the same token, we probably under-estimated the amount of work that comes into revamping existing process units,’’ Van Iderstine said, estimating that less than half the $2.66-billion project cost was spent on new Section V processing units and more than half was revamping existing facilities and infrastructure.
CRC began production in 1935 producing 500 barrels of crude oil per day. While CRC will have 145,000 BOPD of capacity, the refinery likely won’t reach that level for several years as demand in Western Canada increases.