May 15, 2008 / 4:27 PM / in 10 years

UPDATE 1-Syncrude to restart coker after maintenance shutdown

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CALGARY, Alberta, May 15 (Reuters) - Syncrude Canada Ltd has nearly wrapped up a 45-day scheduled maintenance shutdown, with the 100,000 barrel per day unit scheduled to be restarted on Friday, a spokeswoman for the joint-venture’s biggest shareholder said on Thursday.

The coker, a key unit in the production of synthetic crude oil refined from tar-like bitumen, had been shut since early last month.

“The plan is to start the coker up over the weekend, likely tomorrow,” said Siren Fisekci, a spokeswoman for Canadian Oil Sands Trust COS_u.TO, which owns 37 percent of Syncrude, Canada’s largest oil sands project.

Syncrude has the capacity to produce about 375,000 barrels a day when fully operating but output has lagged because of planned and unplanned shutdowns of key components at the project site near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Other partners in the joint venture include Imperial Oil Ltd. IMO.TO, Petro-Canada PCA.TO, ConocoPhillips COP.N, Nexen Inc. NXY.TO, Nippon Oil Corp. 5001.T unit Mocal Energy Ltd. and Murphy Oil Corp. MUR.N. (Reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Renato Andrade)

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