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Syncrude cooperates in migratory bird recovery efforts



FORT McMURRAY, Alberta – Syncrude is working closely with Alberta Fish and Wildlife and Alberta Environment to coordinate recovery efforts relating to a large flock of ducks that landed on Syncrude’s Aurora Settling Basin on Monday, April 28th.


These ducks became coated in residual oil that lies on the surface of the settling basin.  It is estimated that 400 – 500 birds were affected. Syncrude has deployed recovery teams to rescue the birds affected by this incident.


“We take a lot of pride in having systems in place to prevent birds from landing on settling basins and storage ponds. So we’re very saddened and sorry that this occurred,” said Tom Katinas, President and CEO.  “We’re investigating the incident and cooperating with Alberta government officials to determine how we can prevent a similar incident in the future.”


Syncrude has a long-standing program that was being followed when this occurred.

From Spring to Fall, we use audible noise makers to deter birds from entering the ponds on our plant site as part of our waterfowl protection program.  The noise makers, which are highly effective, had already been deployed on all other ponds at our operations.  However, due to the extreme winter weather conditions in the region last week, the deployment of these devices on the Aurora Settling Basin was delayed.  After the rapid weekend thaw, we were in the process of deploying the audible noise makers on Monday, April 28th when this incident occurred.  Eighteen propane-fired noisemakers are now operating at this site. 


This is the first time a large flock of birds has landed on a settling basin in Syncrude’s 30 years of operation. 


The Syncrude Project is a joint venture operated by Syncrude Canada Ltd. and owned by Canadian Oil Sands Limited, ConocoPhillips Oilsands Partnership II, Imperial Oil Resources, Mocal Energy Limited, Murphy Oil Company Ltd., Nexen Oil Sands Partnership, and Petro-Canada Oil and Gas.


Trading Symbols for Public Syncrude Joint Venture Owners:

Canadian Oil Sands Trust              COS.UN – TSX                

ConocoPhillips Oilsands

Partnership II

(wholly owned by ConocoPhillips) COP – NYSE

Imperial Oil Resources                    IMO – TSX/AMEX

Murphy Oil Company Ltd.                 MUR – NYSE

Nexen Inc.                                           NXY – TSX/NYSE

Petro-Canada                                    PCA – TSX/PCZ – NYSE 

For further information:
Alain Moore at (780) 790-6406 or Syncrude’s website at