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Devon Energy is ahead of maintenance schedule at Canadian oil sands site

Devon Energy Corp. is hearing the end of a scheduled maintenance shutdown at one of its sites in Canada's oil sands. Officials expect to resume operations ahead of schedule next week.
BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: August 31, 2013 at 3:00 pm •  Published: August 31, 2013

Devon Energy Corp. is on pace to complete scheduled maintenance at one of its sites in Canada's oil sands next week ahead of schedule.

Crews have spent about 80,000 man-hours so far on the project, which includes replacing convection boxes on the steam generators that drive Devon's production of thick oil called bitumen in northern Alberta.

Kelly Hansen said Devon originally intended to complete the shutdown by Friday, but crews on are pace to finish a few days early.

“We should be putting steam in the ground early next week,” he said.

Hansen said conventional wisdom in Canada's oil patch is that such shutdowns are needed about once a year for regulatory work, inspections and cleaning, but Devon has been able to extend that interval with its risk-based inspection protocols.

He said Devon's Jackfish facilities shut down every two or three years.

Devon, which has what CEO John Richels calls a “portfolio of world-class thermal oil projects,” has been producing oil in Alberta since 2007.

Devon has operations at two Jackfish sites, with a third on the way. Jackfish produced an average of 53,000 barrels of oil a day during the second quarter.

Richels said in the company's Aug. 7 earnings call that Devon is on track to increase production from its oil sands leases to at least 150,000 barrels a day by the end of the decade.

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