Sept 4 (Reuters) - Cenovus Energy Inc said it started producing oil from the fourth phase of its Christina Lake oil sands project in Alberta about three months ahead of schedule.
Cenovus, which operates the project, said Christina Lake phase D is expected to produce about 40,000 barrels a day (bbl/d), bringing total production capacity at the project to 98,000 bbl/d.
The company expects production ramp-up to be complete in six to nine months.
Cenovus said with additional expansions Christina Lake, which it co-owns along with ConocoPhillips, is likely to have a total production capacity of about 300,000 bbl/d.
"We plan to bring on a new phase of oil sands production every 12 to 18 months for the next five years," said Chief Operating Officer John Brannan.
Construction at phase E, the next phase of expansion at the project, is currently ahead of schedule, with initial production expected in the fourth quarter of 2013, Cenovus said.