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Image courtesy of BP.

A joint venture between Husky Energy and BP kicked off operations Friday at the Sunrise oil sands project in Alberta, Canada.

Oil production is expected to start in the first quarter of 2015.

The development is located about 37 miles northeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta with estimated resources of 3.7 billion barrels.

Sunrise is being developed using steam assisted gravity drainage, an oil well technology that heats the underground bitumen layers until oil is warm enough to flow.

The Sunrise project involves three phases of development with total capacity slated to reach 200,000 bpd.

Sunrise’s first phase has a capacity of 60,000 bpd in two processing plant.

The second plant of the first phase is due to start up around the middle of 2015.

A second 70,000 bpd phase is in the design stage, while the third phase is in the early appraisal stage.

The project is expected to reach full capacity during the next 18 to 24 months.

The field is expected to be in production for over 50 years.

Calgary-based Husky holds a 50 percent operating stake with BP holding the remaining 50 percent.

“Sunrise first steam is a landmark for us in 2014, our sixth major project start-up this year, our very first in-situ oil sands operations and a long-life asset which should give us steady production for decades,” BP Upstream CEO Lamar Mckay said.