Sturgeon's latest price tag: $9.3 billion to upgrade 50,000 bbl/day of bitumen
According to AltaCorp Capital, the latest price tag for the Sturgeon Refinery is now $9.3 billion, up another $800 million from previous estimates. Alberta's Auditor General is now being asked to evaluate whether the project is a good use of taxpayer funds.
The original price tag for the Sturgeon Refinery was $5.7 billion in 2013. The "refinery" is technically a bitumen upgrader, designed to produce 78,000 bbl/day of diesel and naphtha diluent. The facility also includes a carbon-capture plant, where the CO₂ will be used for enhanced oil recovery.
The Alberta government has ensured 30-years worth of feedstock, collected in lieu of royalty payments. The government will pay the tolls or processing fees to upgrade the bitumen and now says those tolls will likely rise.
The Sturgeon Refinery is a 50/50 JV between privately-held North West Refining and Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL). AltaCorp is also reporting that North West Refining is looking to sell their stake, valued at $500 million. CNRL has agreed to supply 37,500 bbl/day of its own bitumen, mostly from the Cold Lake area.
The Auditor General is expected to release another report on the project this fall. The first phase is expected to come into service before the end of this year. The refinery has approvals in place for 150,000 bbl/day of capacity but the government has not yet made any decisions on future phased of expansion.