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Key facts

key facts
Location: Alberta, Canada
Category: Oil sands
Owners: Shell 60%, Chevron Canada Corporation 20%, Marathon Oil Sands LP 20%
Muskeg River Mine: Start-up 2003; 155,000 b/d capacity
Jackpine Mine: Start-up 2010: 100,000 b/d capacity

Current developments

The current production capacity of AOSP is 255,000 b/d of synthetic crude. Shell has regulatory approvals for additional expansion of up to 215,000 b/d. Shell received conditional approval for its 100,000 b/d Jackpine Mine Expansion in December 2013. Final investment decision has not been taken.

In early 2015, Shell elected to withdraw itsand submitted a regulatory application for a 200,000 b/d development of the Pierre River Mine (PRM). Shell retains the leases and PRM remains a long-term growth opportunity for Shell.  

Shell has existing licences for up to 290,000 b/d of synthetic crude production at the Scotford Upgrader. 

Shell’s Quest project – the world’s first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage project for an oil sands operation – is being constructed and is expected to capture 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year from the Scotford Upgrader starting in 2015.


Shell Technology Centre Calgary (STCC) employs more than 200 scientists, technologists and engineers. Their work focuses on using research and technology to help drive improvement and technology advancements in support of producing more energy with less impact. The STCC is a key part of Shell Canada’s ability to respond to the unique challenges facing our business while developing innovative solutions that help us continue to improve.

Environment and society

Fostering and supporting Aboriginal businesses remains a focus for Shell. Since 2005, we have invested more than $1.7 billion with Aboriginal contractors providing a range of services.

Fuels produced from oil sands bitumen emit 4-23% more carbon dioxide (CO2) than the average barrel of crude consumed in the US on a life-cycle – or well-to-wheels – basis. We are working to reduce this gap by improving our energy efficiency and plan to have our Quest carbon capture and storage project in operation by 2015.

When we extract oil from the oil sands, the leftover water, coarse sand, silt and clay particles, and some residual oil is generally known as “‘tailings’.”  is left behind. We carefully manage this mixture, known as tailings. Tailings are integral to our operation; capturing them in storage ponds enables water recycling and reduces the amount of river water required in the production process. Some 80% of the water used in Shell’s oil sands mining operations is recycled from the tailings facilities at our mines. 

Over time, the goal is to dry the tailings so that the solids become part of the foundation for the future reclaimed landscape once mining is complete.

Our Scotford Upgrader reuses water from a water treatment plant, cutting its water use by up to 15%.


A significant portion of the output of the Scotford Upgrader is sold to the Scotford Refinery. The balance of the synthetic crude is sold to the general marketplace (predominantly in the USA).