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LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - BP and Husky Energy on Friday started operations at the Sunrise oil sands project in Canada, paving the way for oil production in the first quarter next year, BP said in a statement.
The project was initially expected to start producing oil by the end of this year and Husky Energy raised cost estimates for the Alberta project by 19 percent in October.
The oil sands project, which is expected to have a lifespan of 50 years, will reach an initial capacity of 60,000 barrels per day of bitumen from two processing plants over the next 18-24 months, BP said.
"Sunrise first steam is a landmark for us in 2014, our sixth major project start-up this year, our very first in-situ oil sands operations and a long-life asset which should give us steady production for decades," said Lamar Mckay, chief executive of BP Upstream.
The Sunrise project is set to reach a maximum production capacity of 200,000 barrels per day. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by David Clarke)