Suncor is an integrated energy company which pioneered the world’s first commercially successful oil sands operation in 1967 near Fort McMurray, northeastern Alberta. Suncor recovers bitumen from oil sand and upgrades it to refinery-ready crude oil, which eventually gets processed into gas and diesel fuel.
The TFT Tailings Pump Barges project, detailed on our Oil Sands Portfolio webpage, was implemented to provide a cost effective solution for the initial phase of the pond’s life. This project addressed the modifications required for the next operating phase at increased pond elevation.
The project included extension of the existing walkway retreat ramp to accommodate the expected pond rise; marine design of modular floating transition platform accommodating barge and walkway anchor lines and phased relocation plan for TFT pumping barges; civil design required to construct the TFT retreat ramp and earthen Temporary Pad and Pier to contain the TFT pond rise; modification of existing and design of 6 new TFT DHPE lines and overland slurry pipelines; design modification to floating TFT and pump glandwater pipelines; revision to existing barge anchoring system to allow relocation to deeper area of pond; 8kV electrical trailing cable and fibre optic cable layouts and support; instrumentation design and heat tracing of pipeline automatic valves;
It was compulsory that all design aspects operated reliably in the harsh climatic conditions and remote location of the tailings pond. The project design considered the risk factors of potential sanding in of walkways, floating pipelines, and barges; minimal acceptable system downtime in the event of a failure due to fluid freezing; pipelines and cable layout and support design that would accommodate movement between walkway sections.
The construction plan needed to ensure that all design components were integrated into the existing system and brought online within the limited shutdown timeframes available with no sacrifice in production rates.