Japex starts bitumen output from Canada oil sands expansion project

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan Petroleum Exploration (Japex) said it started bitumen production from the Hangingstone oil sands expansion project in Alberta, Canada, last Thursday.

The project’s output stood at around 1,000 barrels per day (bpd) and is expected to reach full output of 20,000 bpd in the second half of 2018, Japex Managing Executive Officer Michiro Yamashita told reporters while releasing first-quarter results on Tuesday.

The company said in November that it was aiming for a start-up in mid-2017.

Japex’s subsidiary owns a 75 percent stake in the project, while Nexen Inc holds the rest.

Japex also said would close down the Hangingstone oil sands concession project known as 3.75 section, which has been shut since May 2016 due to low prices and after devastating fires in the area were brought under control.

The company said it would swing to a recurring loss of 910 million yen ($8.23 million) in the year ending next March from a profit of 5.42 billion yen due to a write-off related to the termination of 3.75 project and losses from the scrapping of a

Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier