Imperial Oil, a renowned Canadian Petroleum refining company, has reportedly announced that it will be moving ahead with the $2.6 billion Aspen oilsands project located in northern Alberta.

Reports cite, the project employs a new technology that is purported to be less wasteful as it uses less water and reduces the intensity of greenhouse gases. The announcement reportedly comes less than a week after the company received a long-anticipated approval from the government of Alberta.

According to a press release, it is expected that the project would be producing approximately 75,000 barrels of bitumen every day. Moreover, the project would be using the next-gen oil sands recovery technology on a commercial scale for the first time to make the project’s construction more efficient while also improving the development economics.

Reportedly, the hasty nature of the announcement surprised observers who have witnessed the Calgary oilsands competitors including Cenovus Energy Inc., MEG Energy Corp., and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. announce cuts in production in order to avoid steep discounts that are currently being paid for the bitumen blend from Western Canadian Select.

Senior Vice President of Commercial & Corporate Development at Imperial Oil, Theresa Redburn stated that the company decided to move ahead with the construction activities during a relatively slow time in the region as it hopes that the absence of more competition would be saving money on component costs and labor.

Reports claim, the project is specifically being designed to deploy solvents along with the steam into the horizontal wells to help melt the sticky bitumen – a technology that was previously tested in a pilot project. Using this technique, the company reportedly expects to save around 25% in per barrel capital costs and be equally efficient in terms of water usage and greenhouse gas emissions.

According to reports, it is anticipated that the Aspen project would be generating over 700 jobs during the peak of the construction phase and over 200 employment opportunities during the operation.