Imperial said that it plans to apply advanced technologies and improvements in efficiency to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of its operated oil sands facilities.
The application of next-generation oil recovery technology at Imperial’s Cold Lake in-situ operations; improvements in reliability at its Kearl mining facility; and continuous improvements in energy efficiency are expected to be key drivers behind the reductions, which are anticipated to result in a 10% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 2023, compared with 2016 levels.
Imperial expects to achieve even greater reductions through the application of step-change in-situ oil recovery technology at its proposed Aspen oil sands project, which is currently under regulatory review.
The new technology, solvent-assisted steam-assisted gravity drainage, could reduce both greenhouse gas emissions intensity and water use intensity by up to 25% through lower energy utilization per barrel, compared with traditional steam-assisted gravity drainage technology.
Following a successful $100 million, multi-year pilot at its Cold Lake facility, Imperial is also evaluating the first commercial application of its breakthrough cyclic solvent process, which could virtually eliminate the use of steam and reduce emissions intensity up to 90% in certain areas of the company’s Cold Lake field.
Over the past 20 years, Imperial has invested more than $2.1 billion in research and technology development, much of which has been focused on advancing oil sands recovery technologies designed to improve environmental and economic performance.
Imperial also benefits from access to global expertise gained from ExxonMobil’s annual investment of about $1 billion a year that is dedicated to research and development. Through Imperial’s relationship with ExxonMobil, the company is also exploring advanced biofuels as well as carbon capture and storage.
Imperial is Canada’s largest petroleum refiner, a major producer of crude oil, a key petrochemical producer and a leading fuels marketer from coast to coast.