05/21/2015 08:10 EDT | Updated 05/21/2016 05:59 EDT

Husky Energy says Rush Lake heavy oil project is ready ahead of schedule

CALGARY - Husky Energy (TSX:HSE) says that its Rush Lake heavy oil project in Saskatchewan has begun commercial operations eight weeks ahead of schedule.

The project is designed to produce up to 10,000 barrels per day using a steam-assisted process to extract the heavy oil, once it has ramped up to full capacity.

Rush Lake is part of Husky's plan to increase output from its thermal projects by nearly 80 per cent over the next 18 months, to 78,500 barrels per day from 44,000 barrels per day.

It says the Edam East project and Vawn projects, each capable of producing 10,000 barrels per day, are scheduled to come on stream in the second half of next year

Husky is also working to increase the capacity of its Edam West project by 1,000 barrels per day. That project is expected to begin producing 4,500 barrels per day in the fourth quarter of 2016.