Analysis of the front-end loading of Alberta mega oil sands projects

In Canada's northern Alberta province lies one of the world's largest hydrocarbon deposits, a source which currently generates one million barrels of oil daily and contains 175 billion barrels of recoverable oil from the 1.6 trillion barrels of oil locked within the province's sands. This paper examines the front-end effort involved in realizing the mega-projects needed to access Alberta's oil supplies. In doing so, it describes the causes of cost overruns that typically occur on mega-projects; it overviews the challenges involved in developing oil construction projects, listing the parameters for categorizing a project as a mega-project. It explains this study's qualitative and quantitative methods for investigating--via document analysis of three Alberta mega-projects and a survey involving 87 senior project management professionals, over three years--the front-end effort involved in constructing three Alberta facilities, projects which used the trend system approach that is common among oil sands projects.
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