New terms of reference proposed for revised Northern Lights oil sands project
Synenco Energy, managing partner of the Northern Lights Partnership, has proposed new Terms of Reference (TOR) for the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the Northern Lights oil sands mining and extraction project, 100 kilometres northeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta.
The company was directed to do so by Alberta Environment after the Northern Lights Partnership announced its intention to change the project's concept from an integrated oil sands facility with heavy-oil upgrading to a bitumen mining and extraction facility. In its December 21, 2005 announcement, the Partnership also said it will seek regulatory approval to build the upgrader complex in Sturgeon County, northeast of Edmonton. This facility will be the subject of a separate regulatory application; an EIA for it is now in the early stages of implementation
Alberta Environment has set 45-day public comment period for the proposed TOR, running to March 31, 2006. The department will review the comments it receives and will then issue final TOR for the project.
Meanwhile, the project EIA is well under way. It will continue using the new proposed TOR, together with previous final TOR issued by Alberta Environment in 2003, until the final TOR are issued. The Partnership still expects to file an application for regulatory approval of the project in mid-2006.
Synenco, a Calgary-based oil sands company, holds a 60% interest in the Northern Lights Partnership. The remaining 40% is owned by SinoCanada Petroleum, an indirect subsidiary of China-based Sinopec Group.
The new proposed TOR, together with an updated public disclosure document for the Northern Lights project may be viewed on the Synenco Web site, www.synenco.com. More information is also available from Tara Schauerte, 403/261-1990.