The initial phase of production is expected to add about 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2013.

The project is expected to add about additional 110,000 barrels of bitumen production per day by late 2015 with the help of company’s Design One Build Many approach, while ExxonMobil plans to increase production capacity to about 345,000bpd by 2020.

ExxonMobil Development president Neil Duffin said that Kearl will add about 4.6bn barrels of resource, which will meet energy needs for the next 40 years.

"By combining a high-quality resource with our proprietary technologies, proven project execution capability and operational excellence, Kearl will provide attractive returns over the long term with a smaller environmental footprint than traditional oil sands mining," Duffin added.

Kearl is the first oil sands mining operation, which has not used an upgrader for lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions for its output.