July 14/21, 2003

EA Agency, Alta EUB draft joint review panel agreements for two oil sands projects

Draft agreements between the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) will establish joint environmental assessment (EA) panels to review two proposed oil sands development projects in Northern Alberta. The projects include the Horizon Oil Sands development, proposed by Canadian Natural Resources, and Shell Canada's proposed Jackpine Mine.

Canadian Natural Resources is proposing to construct an oil sands mining, extraction and upgrading facility at the Horizon Mine site, approximately 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray. The proposal includes an open pit, truck and shovel mine, four bitumen processing trains, three upgrading trains, associated utilities and infrastructure, water and tailing management plans, and an integrated development and reclamation plan. The project is designed to produce approximately 43,000 cubic metres per day of bitumen and approximately 37,000 cubic metres per day of upgraded bitumen product. The company anticipates beginning construction in 2004, with initial production starting in 2007 and reaching full capacity by 2011.

Shell's proposed Jackpine mine will be located in the same general area. In addition to an open pit, truck and shovel mine, bitumen processing train, related mine and facility infrastructure, water and tailing management plans, and an integrated reclamation plan, the proposal also incorporates a cogeneration plant consisting of 170-megawatt gas turbine generators, each fitted with a heat recovery steam boiler. Shell is also proposing to construct and operate a 8.5-kilometre fresh water pipeline to serve the facility. Designed to produce approximately 31,800 cubic metres per day of bitumen from the McMurray formation, the Jackpine mine is expected to reach full production in 2010 and last 22 years.

The draft agreements outline the mandates and authorities of the joint panels, their composition and project review procedures. The joint reviews of the two projects will fulfill the requirements of both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Act. The EUB will have to obtain the approval of Alberta's Lieutenant Governor in Council before formally entering into the agreements.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is inviting public comments on both agreements and will receive written submissions in either official language until July 30, 2003. After taking public comments into consideration, the draft agreements will be finalized and made public. Written comments and/or requests for copies of either draft agreement should be directed to Steve Chapman, panel manager, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 200 SacrÈ-Coeur Blvd, 13th floor, Hull Que K1A 0H3; 819/997-2937, FAX 819/997-4931, E-mail steve.chapman@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

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