Syncrude coker undergoing maintenance; 2013 output targets unchanged

CALGARY – An oilsands processing unit at the massive Syncrude Canada oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta., is down for maintenance.

The turnaround for coker 8-1 has been scheduled for late 2013, but was moved up because an associated boiler was taken off-line for repairs last month, reducing throughput.

The work on the coker — part of the process to convert tarry oilsands bitumen into a lighter type of crude that refineries can handle — is expected to last 50 days.

Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. (TSX:COS), the largest owner of the Syncrude mine, said 2013 output is still expected to come in at between 100 million and 110 million barrels, with no material impact on operating costs.

The other owners of Syncrude include Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO), Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU), Chinese firms Sinopec and CNOOC, Mocal Energy and MurphyOil.