Syncrude is one of the largest operators in Canada’s oil sands industry, with an over 55-year history of innovation. Based in Fort McMurray, Alberta, and with a large research and development facility in Edmonton, Syncrude is known for pioneering many of the processes used in the industry, including an expanding suite of technologies to improve environmental and economic performance.
Our company was incorporated in 1964 and we started operations at our Mildred Lake site in 1978. Cumulative production now exceeds 3 billion barrels.
How we produce oil
Our production process incorporates oil sands surface mining, followed by water-based extraction of the raw oil known as bitumen from the sand, and then upgrading that bitumen into a high quality, light, sweet crude oil through fluid coking, hydroprocessing, hydrotreating and reblending.
Our final product, Syncrude Sweet Premium (SSP), is sent by pipeline to Edmonton area refineries and to pipeline terminals which ship it to refineries in Canada and the United States. Once the product leaves our plant site, transportation and marketing become the responsibilities of our Joint Venture participants.
While our business is about producing the energy Canadians need, how we do it is equally important. We believe in responsible development that encompasses research and innovation, Indigenous and stakeholder engagement, environmental stewardship, providing a respectful and rewarding workplace, and generating shared value across the country and in the communities where we work and live.
Generating shared economic value
We currently employ approximately 4,700 people directly while our operations provide jobs for many more thousands of people directly and indirectly across Canada. From 2014 to 2018 alone, we contributed over $28 billion to Canada’s economy through the payment of wages, royalties and taxes and procurement of goods and services.
Engaging Indigenous communities
Syncrude is a recognized leader in Indigenous relations. We’re one of the largest employers of Indigenous people in Canada, with an average 10% representation in our direct workforce. We are also a champion for identifying and creating business development opportunities, with cumulative procurement from Indigenous suppliers now totaling over $3.5 billion.
OVER $3.5 BILLION TOTAL PROCUREMENT FROM INDIGENOUS COMPANIES
Focus on innovation
Syncrude has invested over $1.5 billion on research and development to date and ranks amongst the top spenders on innovation in Canada. Over half of these expenditures are focused on environmental priorities such as our reclamation research programs and collaborative efforts through Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA).
Returning land back to nature
Syncrude is committed to returning mined land back to nature. To date, more than 4,900 hectares of land disturbed by Syncrude oil sands mining operations is permanently reclaimed or ready for re-vegetation, including 160 hectares in 2018. We have planted more than 8.9 million tree and shrub seedlings, including 405,000 in 2018. In 2008, Syncrude was the first oil sands operator to receive certification from the Alberta government for a reclaimed area. Called Gateway Hill, the area was planted in the early 1980s and is now a healthy forest of deciduous and coniferous trees interspersed by several small wetlands.
Our corporate headquarters are located near Fort McMurray, about 440 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, Alberta. Our Mildred Lake facility is 40 kilometres north of the city, with our Aurora project located an additional 35 kilometres north of Mildred Lake. Our operations are found on the Athabasca Oil Sands Deposit.
The Syncrude Project is a Joint Venture undertaking among Imperial Oil Resources Limited; CNOOC Oil Sands Canada; Sinopec Oil Sands Partnership; and Suncor Energy Inc. (with the Suncor interest held by Canadian Oil Sands Partnership #1 and Suncor Energy Ventures Partnership, both wholly owned affiliates of Suncor Energy Inc.).