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Cenovus’ Foster Creek facility
Did You Know?

Cenovus Energy produces billionth barrel of bitumen

Milestone a signpost of oil sands innovation, economic impact and commitment to sustainable development

This summer, Cenovus Energy hit a huge milestone…it produced its one billionth barrel of bitumen.

The bitumen was produced at Cenovus’ Foster Creek facility. In operation for 18 years, Foster Creek was the first commercial facility in the oil sands to use steam assisted gravity drainage, or SAGD. SAGD production—a made-in-Canada innovation—uses steam pumped underground to heat up bitumen to the point where it is liquified and can be pumped to the surface. Christina Lake, another nearby Cenovus facility, started producing bitumen one year later using the same method.

Aerial view of Cenovus’ Foster Creek Oil Sands site in northern Alberta.

It took 18 years of production for Cenovus to get to one billion barrels. But before production even began, decades of effort went into geologic exploration, planning, securing approvals, designing, testing, and building.

Let’s consider what one billion barrels produced over 18 years represents:

  • Tens of thousands of full-time employees – either directly working for Cenovus or working for companies contracted to the Foster Creek and Christina Lake facilities.
  • Billions of dollars in royalty payments to the province, that then get dispersed across the county via equalization payments. In 2018 alone, Cenovus paid $548 million in royalties.
  • Planting of over 850,000 trees with the numbers increasing as the land is steadily reclaimed.
  • Spending of over $2.7 billion with Indigenous-owned businesses.
  • In 2018 alone, more than $7 million in donations to more than 600 non-profit organizations.
  • In the past three years alone, positively impacting 340,000 youth with community programming including youth leaderships programs.

(Source - Cenovus Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2018)