Imperial Asks Regulators To Approve Cold Lake Expansion Plans

Imperial Oil Ltd., Canada's biggest oil company, has asked the provincial regulators to approve an expansion of the company's Cold Lake, Alberta, operations which is valued at C$1 billion ($655 million) over the next decade.

Imperial filed plans with the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board to produce an additional 30,000 barrels a day of bitumen in a new area known as Nabiye and to expand the company's existing Mahihkan operations, the company said in a statement. Bitumen is a heavy, molasses like crude oil used to make asphalt and road tar.

Imperial has been increasing Cold Lake production in stages since the mid-1980s to meet market growth projections. The Toronto based company reported a sixty nine percent decline in first quarter earnings and a twelve percent drop in 2001 profit, citing lower fuel prices for the declines.

The Nabiye expansion, valued at C$600 million to C$700 million, would add 250 million barrels to recoverable reserves, Imperial said. Production is expected to begin in late 2006.

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