The facility currently produces around 20,000 barrels per day (bpd), and is expected to ramp up to 40,000bpd by the end of this year.

During its 30-year operational life, the Nabiye zone is expected to recover 280 million barrels of resources.

ExxonMobil Development Company president Neil Duffin said: "Nabiye will contribute important new production to ExxonMobil as we continue to bring new projects on line."

In 2004, ExxonMobil’s majority-owned Imperial has secured regulatory approvals for Nabiye expansion. However, its amended development plan was approved in 2010 and a final decision on the project was taken in February 2012.

The expansion includes a new steam generation and bitumen processing plant, field production pads and associated facilities, including a 170MW electrical cogeneration plant and sulphur-recovery facilities.

ExxonMobil Development executed the project on behalf of Imperial Oil, the Cold Lake project operator.

Said to be Canada’s largest and longest-running in-situ oil sands operation, the Cold Lake facility comprises five steam generation and bitumen production plants.

ExxonMobil intends to increase its production volumes to 4.1 million oil-equivalent barrels a day this year through fast-tracking several projects completed in 2014 and the commissioning of seven new projects later this year.