Excellence is our standard, not our goal


In addition to a strong focus on safety and the environment, Kearl will maintain business integrity at all times. The project is well-planned and will be carefully executed to meet high standards of quality and cost effectiveness and meet all regulatory and stakeholder commitments.

Together, Imperial Oil and Exxon Mobil have a strong track-record of developing new technologies and establishing clear goals that guide project planning and execution. Kearl uses the best commercial technology available to minimize its impact. Over the life of the project, Kearl will incorporate ongoing improvements that will maximize efficiencies and decrease environmental impacts.

Kearl will use Imperial Oil’s proprietary paraffinic froth treatment technology (PFT) to process bitumen on-site to where it can be blended with natural gas condensates to create a dilbit (diluted bitumen) product. Dilbit is suitable for transportation direct to market via pipeline from the mine site. This process eliminates the cost and environmental footprint of an on-site upgrader.

The mining process consists of using high-capacity shovels and heavy-haul trucks to remove ore and transport it to an on-site facility where the ore will be crushed and mixed with water for slurrying. From here, the slurry will be transported by pipeline to a bitumen extraction facility where bitumen will be separated as froth – a mixture of bitumen, water and fine solids – and the froth will be further treated in a PFT plant to produce bitumen suitable for blending. Since Kearl will be connected to a substantial North American pipeline system, dilbit can be transported straight to refineries that are already configured to process heavy oil and bitumen.

In addition to mining equipment, Kearl will also require development of related infrastructure, such as a river water intake and water pipeline to allow water volumes to be withdrawn from the Athabasca River and stored on-site.  Recycled water will be the main water source for the operations once the system is filled and a steady state is reached. Fresh river water will then be used as a supplementary source.

Kearl process overview

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