Japan Canada Oil Sands Limited (JACOS) is owned by Japanese interests. The major owner is JAPEX (Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd.) with an 93% share. JACOS started in the Athabasca area in 1978 when the company "farmed in" on leases held by Petro-Canada (Suncor), Canadian Occidental (Nexen) and Esso (Imperial Oil) to form what is referred to as the PCEJ group. All of these companies are currently active in pursuing oil sands development in the region.
JACOS and its partners experimented with a cyclic steam stimulation pilot project on the Hangingstone Lease from 1983 to 1994. From 1992 to 1997, JAPEX participated in the AOSTRA SAGD pilot experiments at the UTF (Underground Test Facility) site.
With the positive results from the UTF project, JACOS decided to further pursue SAGD technology at the Hangingstone site.
A 3-phased "Demonstration" project was designed and constructed with the first phase becoming operational in 1999. Current production is approximately 6,000 barrels of bitumen per day.