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Reducing Costs for a $15B Unconventional Oil & Gas Provider

Client Background & Challenges

The oil sands site of this $15B unconventional oil & gas provider engages in the mining, extraction, and upgrading of bitumen into a synthetic crude oil. This process is capital intensive, and operating costs per barrel can be as much at 10x the cost of conventional drilling. As a result of this, there is an urgent need to reduce the cost per barrel to achieve and maintain competitiveness in the global market.

Approach & Analysis

SSA & Company was selected to assist in this effort, and deployed a cross-site team to systemically review operations, analyzing everything from high-level corporate strategy to operator practices. SSA developed solutions to improve asset reliability and uptime, increase process safety, increase productive use of assets and labor, and reduce waste. SSA then aggressively implemented these solutions, resulting in significantly improved client business performance.

Results & Value to Client

This work significantly contributed to reducing operating costs, resulting in a 17% cost per barrel reduction over a 3 year period. Additionally, SSA transferred these skills to the company’s team to ensure the culture of improvement would remain long after we left. Some examples of this work include:

  • improving mining fleet efficiency by 10% through the use of better shift change practices
  • deploying step change maintenance cycle time reductions and preventive maintenance programs to keep key assets in bitumen production at high uptime levels
  • designing and implementing unified performance management tools throughout each business unit, aligning operator performance to corporate goals and objectives
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