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Financial Post (Canada): Shell oilsands project returns to full operation

Mar 21, 2006
Shell Canada Ltd. announced yesterday that its Athabasca oilsands project has resumed full output after repairs to a conveyor belt were completed ahead of schedule.
The conveyor belt, which carries tar-like, bitumen-laden sand from the mine to a facility where the oil is separated out, split last month. That reduced production to a third of the 178,000 barrels a day of bitumen normally produced at the site 75 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, Alta. Repairs to the belt, which Shell Canada says is the world's largest, began on March 14 and, at that time, the company said they were expected to take at least two weeks. Shell officials didn't give any reasons for the repairs being completed so quickly.
However it said in a release that it has changed operating and maintenance procedures for the belt following the tear. The mine supplies tar-like bitumen to the project's Scotford upgrading refinery near Edmonton. The upgrader converts bitumen into refinery-ready synthetic crude. The Athabasca oil sands project is 60% owned and operated by Shell Canada. Chevron Corp. and Western Oil Sands Inc. each has a 20% stake.

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