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MetroNews: Shell Canada Completes Repairs at Oil Sands Plant ( Posted 28 Jan 05 


CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Shell Canada Ltd. <SHC.TO> said on Thursday it was boosting production at its oil sands processing plant after completing repairs on a key unit that has been shut down since October.


The upgrading plant, which turns tar-like bitumen from Shell Canada's Athabasca Oil Sands Project in northern Alberta into refinery-ready oil, has been pumping at about 65 percent of its 155,000 barrel a day capacity with one of two production trains off-line.


The company said it took the opportunity during the shutdown to conduct other maintenance, eliminating the need for a project-wide turnaround this year, as had been scheduled.


Shell, which has a 60 percent stake in the oil sands development, had hoped to return the Scotford Upgrader to full production in late November. But crews detected a tubing leak in a cooler during restart operations.


After an inspection, the company determined five cooling units at the site, near Edmonton, Alberta, needed repairs.


The Athabasca project's mine is near the oil sands hub of Fort McMurray, Alberta. It is connected to Scotford by pipeline.


Shell's partners in the project are ChevronTexaco Corp. <CVX.N> and Western Oil Sands Inc. <WTO.TO> with 20 percent each.

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