TomCo Energy PLC (LON:TOM) has told investors that the start-up of the POSP project, in Utah, USA, will now happen in the New Year following changes to coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols at the mining permitting authority.
In a project update, TomCo noted that work to upgrade the capacity and improve the reliability of the POSP facility had been completed earlier this month, with all systems tested and operational resources delivered to the site.
A full restart remained subject to permitting and was due to get underway this week, it added. But now, due to the COVID-19 related disruption, the company said that the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) operating plan won’t be released before December 21, 2020.
Consequently, TomCo said the Greenfield team has decided to delay the POSP restart until January 4, 2021, to ensure an efficient start-up, avoiding the need for an almost immediate Christmas/New Year holiday period shut down.
“After achieving so much on the project this year, it is unfortunate that the impact of Covid-19 has caused disruption to our plans for the POSP at this late stage, but everything is in place for the full restart at the beginning of January and we look forward to reporting on our progress in the New Year,” said John Potter, TomCo chief executive in a statement.
The operational details of the project remain unchanged. POSP will initially be operated on a single day shift and, assuming no issues, it is planned that production will now be ramped up in late January.
The plan is to send oil samples produced by the POSP to the Quadrise Fuels International PLC (LON:QFI) test facility in the UK.
Further sampling will also take place to enable detailed testing of the oil and sands produced by the POSP, the company added.
Third-party engineering analysis is due to take place alongside ongoing front end engineering design (FEED) work, with the FEED due for completion by the end of February.
Greenfield Energy LLC is a joint venture between TomCo and Valkor LLC.
Valkor previously agreed a licence agreement under which Greenfield is able to use Quadrise Fuels’ MSAR technology, which creates an emulsified synthetic fuel oil converted from heavy and paraffinic oil.