Dec eNews Remarkable

Remarkable! Syncrude celebrates 50 years

Happy Anniversary Syncrude!

It’s official. December 18th marks Syncrude’s 50th year as a company. Although that’s the date of incorporation, Syncrude has been celebrating all year long.

It began with an employee tribute book highlighting five decades of challenges, setbacks and victories that helped shape the company and the oil sands industry. The celebration continued with months of reflection, reminiscing and celebration of Syncrude’s history and accomplishments. 

While reflecting on the past, the 50th anniversary was also an opportunity to look forward to the next half century.

At the time of Syncrude’s incorporation in 1964, its only operating department was the Research and Development team consisting of a small group of geologists, engineers, planners and inventors. They worked out of a former oxygen plant that was transformed into a research laboratory on the east end of Edmonton. The team oversaw a semi-continuous unit capable of processing 120 pounds of oil sand per hour and had a main focus to find a way to efficiently mine oil sand, extract the bitumen and upgrade it to a marketable product.

That small group has grown to more than 5,000 employees helping Syncrude become one of the largest operators in the oil sands industry with the capacity to produce 350,000 barrels per day of high quality light, low sulphur crude oil known as Syncrude Sweet Blend. 

Since production began in 1978, Syncrude has shipped more than 2.5 billion barrels of its crude oil and has provided jobs for many thousands of people directly and indirectly across the country. Last year, Syncrude’s operations contributed more than $8 billion to Canada’s economy through wages, royalties and taxes, and procurement of goods and services.

This Canadian success story is really about Syncrude’s people and the communities where they live and work. The anniversary celebrations were designed to thank employees for their contributions and commitment, offer opportunities for them to share their stories and pride in their work, and create excitement for the company’s bright future.

The 50th anniversary was celebrated in many different ways including:

  • A special website – –that features profiles of some of our remarkable employees.
  • Cornerstone magazine told stories of how Syncrude has helped build Alberta through its people, its work and its involvement in the community. The magazine was distributed across Alberta and to all Syncrude employees and retirees.
  • An eight-month ad campaign recognized employee contributions to Syncrude’s success including the ways they have persevered, innovated and led the way in a growing industry.
  • Employee and community social events.
  • A special ceremony with members of local Aboriginal communities to dedicate a large, new reclamation area in recognition of the 50th anniversary. The area, named New Beginnings, Oski Sechi Kewina in Cree and NeDegóth Honithēí in Dene, has had 730 of its 1,245 hectares already reclaimed since 2005.

This year also marked the 40th anniversary of Syncrude’s Aboriginal Relations program and commitment to working alongside the region’s five First Nations and six Métis Locals. Syncrude is one of the largest private-sector employers of Aboriginal people in Canada, and has conducted more than $2 billion in business with Aboriginal companies since it began tracking the data in 1992. That includes $186 million in 2013 alone.

Alberta’s scientific community celebrated Syncrude’s 50th as well,   with a rare honour in October. The ASTech Foundation recognized Syncrude’s Research and Development team with a Special ASTech Award for their 50-year contribution to the advancement of oil sands science and technology.

Syncrude is 50 years remarkable, thanks to the innovative, dedicated, passionate people pushing oil sands development.

Congratulations Syncrude!


50 years of success

Syncrude Canada Ltd. celebrates its 50th year in 2014. This video is a journey through five decades of responsible oil sands development, technical innovation & commitment to community.

50 Years ago, Syncrude was born

A Canadian success story that was formed through the efforts, innovations and hard work of our employees.  In this special year we celebrate our history, and our employees who pursued a remarkable vision, persevered against the odds, innovated game-changing technologies and pioneered in a fast-paced industry. 

Our employees have much to be proud of in this 50th year and to celebrate this milestone we are sharing their stories both past and present.  Thank you for your immense contributions, innovative spirit, teamwork and loyalty. 

Thank you for the last 50 years and for many more to come. 

Cornerstone Magazine

Cornerstone 2

Cornerstone, Syncrude’s 50th anniversary magazine, tells stories of how we are helping build Alberta through our people, our work, and our involvement in the community.  Read it here.

Meet some of our remarkable employees

SYC 50 Doug 690x300SYC 50 Jessica 690x300SYC 50 Rick 690x300