Canadian Natural Resources Limited, or CNRL, announced on Thursday that its Athabasca Oil Sands project has hit a production milestone of 1 billion barrels.  Shell photo.

Athabasca Oil Sands project owned by CNRL, Chevron, Shell

Canadian Natural Resources Limited, operator of the Jackpine and Muskeg River mines at the Athabasca Oil Sands Project, announced on Thursday that the project reached a production milestone of 1 billion barrels.

The company began operations in the area in 2003.

“This is a significant milestone and demonstrates the size and scale of Canada’s oil sands mining operations,” said CNRL President Tim McKay.

McKay added that “The oil sands, through responsible development, provide sustainable long life low decline production and significant value for stakeholders.”

Dedicated employees and contractors focussed on safe, reliable operations were credited by McKay for the milestone.  According to McKay, CNRL is working to minimize “our environmental footprint to ensure long term sustainable development”.

Canadian Natural Resources has a 70 per cent working interest in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project.  Chevron Canada holds 20 per cent and Shell has a 10 per cent interest in the project.

In March 2017, CNRL purchased from Royal Dutch Shell and Marathon Oil its 70 per cent stake in the AOSP mines and non-operated interest in the Shell operated Scotford Upgrader, located north of Edmonton.

The deal that also included the Quest carbon capture and storage project was valued at $12.74 billion.

Following the sale, five oil sands mining projects in Alberta are owned and operated by Canadian-based companies; Suncor Energy, Imperial Oil and Canadian Natural.