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Alberta’s IETP awarding $33M in allowances to 5 projects to reduce oil sands CO2 and water use, improve recovery

27 April 2013

Alberta’s Innovative Energy Technologies Program (IETP) is supporting 5 new pilot projects to reduce energy use, water use and CO2 emissions in oil sands processing as well as improving the recovery of crude oil and bitumen in reserves that were once unrecoverable.

The successful projects were submitted by Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Cenovus Energy Inc., Imperial Oil Ltd., and Perpetual Energy. Since 2004, the Innovative Energy Technologies Program has supported 46 projects. This round of the program is providing $33 million in royalty allowances for the approved projects, with industry contributing an estimated $173 million. The selected projects are:

IETP projects
Lead organization
(Partners)
Description
Imperial Oil Ltd. Cyclic Solvent Process (CSP). Imperial Oil is proposing an alternative to thermal recovery processes to reduce direct greenhouse gas emissions from production by more than 90%. The Cyclic Solvent Process (CSP) eliminates the need for large amounts of energy and water to generate steam. The process will use propane and propane-diluent solvent injection-production cycles to mobilize the heavy oil rather than using steam, which is typically used to produce these reservoirs.
Total project cost: $100,000,000. IETP Royalty Allowance: $10,000,000.
Cenovus Energy Inc. 10MW Chemical Looping Steam Generator (CLSG). This specialized steam generator has been adapted to keep CO2 separate from other gases emitted during the combustion process, thereby avoiding the costly and energy-intensive process of removing the CO2 post-combustion. It is anticipated this process will result in a capture-ready stream of pure CO2, which could significantly reduce the cost of carbon capture and storage.
Total project cost: $62,000,000. IETP Royalty Allowance: $10,000,000.
Perpetual Energy Low-Pressure Electro-Thermally Assisted Drive (LEAD). The project is designed to develop the bitumen in a reservoir that is too viscous for conventional production, but does not require as much heat as most current thermal projects. The pilot will use three parallel horizontal wells with electrical cables to conduct heat throughout the targeted bitumen formation. Water and/or solvent will be injected concurrent with the electrical heating. This process requires less energy and less water than conventional steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operations.
Total project cost: $18,200,000. IETP Royalty Allowance: $5,460,000.
Cenovus Energy Inc. Suffield Main Sand Alkali Surfactant Associative Polymer Flood. This polymer flooding technique allows for increased recovery from Alberta’s challenging conventional oil reservoirs. In addition, this pilot is expected to encourage the conservation of fresh water in enhanced oil recovery. The polymer improves the flow by thickening and pushing the oil out of the pores of the reservoir, while the alkaline and surfactant work to further ‘scrub’ the oil from the rock.
Total project cost: $17,900,000. IETP Royalty Allowance: $5,370,000.
Canadian Natural Resources Limited Water Management through Water Treatment Technologies.Two separate treatment processes involving several technologies will be constructed to test their ability to treat, recycle and re-use high saline and process affected water. If successful, many of the water management challenges facing oil sands mining operations can be addressed, in particular reducing the amount of fresh water required for mining operations.
Total project cost: $8,320,000. Total IETP Royalty Allowance: $2,496,000. Project Summary:

Alberta’s oil sands hold 1.8 trillion barrels of bitumen. Only about 9%—169 billion barrels—are recoverable using existing technologies, the government says.

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