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The following are areas of interest where we are exploring potential for development, although final investment decisions have yet to be made.

In situ


Aspen is a proposed in situ oil sands development project about 45 kilometres northeast of Fort McMurray, AB, on the Muskeg leases.

Imperial initiated this project in early 2012 and applied for regulatory approval in late 2013. In October 2015 we submitted a project update to the Alberta Energy Regulator outlining proposed use of Solvent-Assisted, Steam-Assisted Gravity drainage (SA-SAGD) in the Aspen project. SA-SAGD has the potential to capture a 33-percent capital efficiency gain and achieve a 25-percent reduction greenhouse gas intensity and unit operating costs compared to existing SAGD technologies.

Also amended was the plan to build the central processing facilities as two phases versus three, and an electrical cogeneration facility with an output of 60 megawatts to supply both phases.

Subject to timely receipt of regulatory approvals and favourable business and market conditions, a final investment decision could come as early as 2017. Development of the lease, 100-percent held by Imperial, would be phased over the expected 40-year life of the project.

Related links


Aspen project

Sandy Campbell
SAGD Environment & Regulatory Manager

Natasha Pyfrom
Stakeholder Relations Advisor

Cold Lake expansion (formerly ‘Midzaghe’)

We are evaluating potential expansion in the Grand Rapids formation at our Cold Lake operations, involving SA-SAGD recovery of bitumen. Public consultations and environmental assessment work have been underway since early 2015. In early 2016, we submitted regulatory applications for a potential development that would include a steam-generation and bitumen-processing plant with wellpads and other facilities to support production of about 50,000 barrels per day.

Learn more about our Cold Lake expansion

Corner and Clyden

In Q3 2013, Imperial and ExxonMobil Canada acquired ConocoPhillips’ interest in the Clyden oil sands leasehold, 150 kilometres south of Fort McMurray, AB. The Clyden lease area is near Imperial’s Corner lease holdings and contains 226,000 gross acres amenable to SAGD bitumen recovery.

strongImperial plans to develop these resources in phases of about 45,000 bpd. Further delineation work, and other work to support development of regulatory applications, is underway. In Q4 2015, the Clyden phase two seismic program began and environmental baseline studies on the Corner lease were completed.

Natural gas and tight oil

Horn River

The Horn River region of British Columbia is northeast of Fort Nelson. Our holdings represent one of the industry’s largest acreage positions in the area for so-called ‘shale gas’ or ‘tight gas,’ typically developed through multiple wells and hydraulic fracturing.

Imperial and ExxonMobil Canada (50-50 interest) suspended operation of the Horn River horizontal well production pilot in May 2015. The successful pilot began in August 2012 and ran its planned course -- assessing productivity and cost improvements to help determine potential long-term plans for approximately 340,000 net acres. Pilot production averaged 30 million cubic feet per day and we continue to evaluate data from the pilot.

Montney (Simonette)

Imperial and ExxonMobil Canada have been acquiring exploration acreage in the liquids-rich portion of the Montney play in the Simonette area of northwestern Alberta. Current plans for this acreage are to evaluate the resource potential with an eight-well exploration drilling program.


Imperial and ExxonMobil Canada jointly (50-50 interest) hold 540,000 net acres with about 14 TCF potential in the liquids-rich Montney/Duvernay area straddling the northern BC/Alberta border. This includes about 104,000 net acres in the Duvernay shale and additional acreage in other areas of Alberta. The position is partly the result of ExxonMobil Canada’s acquisition of Celtic Exploration Ltd., in October 2012. Evaluation of this acreage is ongoing.


Imperial and ExxonMobil Canada have an extensive land holding in southern Alberta’s Cardium tight oil formation. ExxonMobil Canada has been operating conventional resources in the Harmattan area since the 1960s. Imperial currently operates a successful commercial project with 40 producing wells and a current volume of about 3,000 bpd.


Imperial is always reviewing potential opportunities in promising but technically challenging frontier areas such as deep-sea offshore locations and Canada’s Arctic. As with all of our operations, we approach frontier opportunities with a strong commitment to environmental protection, safety and innovation.

Southern Mackenzie

Imperial and ExxonMobil Canada have acquired 444,000 net acres in the Southern Mackenzie area of the Northwest Territories. Plans for exploration have not yet been fully developed.

Beaufort Sea

In Q2 of 2015 Imperial and its joint venture partners decided, after careful review, to defer the proposed Beaufort Sea exploration drilling program located about 180 kilometres northwest of Tuktoyaktuk, NWT. The joint venture will continue to maintain a presence in the north, including maintaining an office in Inuvik, executing a multi-year program to collect critical ice data, and continuing to work with communities to define business, employment and training opportunities for northerners.

Imperial remains committed to the Arctic as an important future source of energy. In addition to ongoing engagement with the ExxonMobil Arctic technology research initiatives, we will continue to work closely with government and academic institutions to share expertise in the offshore Arctic.

Mackenzie Gas Project

This project would create the infrastructure to bring an estimated six trillion cubic feet (tcf) of onshore natural gas resource from the Northwest Territories to North American markets.

Imperial, as operator and on behalf of the Mackenzie gas project joint-venture participants, has applied to the regulator for a seven-year extension of the project’s regulatory approval, to 2022 from 2015. The regulator has advised that it will take additional time to consider the request and, as a result, has temporarily extended the terms to September 2016.

An extension would allow time to assess whether changes in the North American natural gas market, including the potential impact of numerous proposed LNG projects, will result in improved economics for development of Mackenzie Delta gas reserves.

Visit the Mackenzie gas project website.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

WCC LNG Project

Imperial Oil Resources and ExxonMobil Canada are in the early stages of assessing the economic potential of an onshore LNG plant project at Prince Rupert’s Tuck Inlet on British Columbia’s West Coast. The WCC LNG Project is at an early stage of definition, and no investment decisions have been made at this time.

After filing a project description in December 2014, the WCC LNG Project is proceeding through the pre- application phase of the environmental assessment process, which includes public and Aboriginal engagement, Environmental Assessment Office working group participation and ongoing studies. A final investment decision, not anticipated in the near term, will ultimately be based on a number of factors, including satisfactory government and regulatory approvals, economic competitiveness, future market conditions and LNG sales agreements.

In 2013, the National Energy Board approved an ExxonMobil Canada and Imperial Oil Resources application to export up to 30 million tonnes per year of LNG from Canada’s west coast.

Visit the WCC LNG project website.