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Business Case

Business CaseWhat are We Solving?

Bitumen in Alberta presents a unique challenge as it is a solid and not a liquid. Before bitumen can be recovered it must be liquified and separated from the solids that bind it. This process requires energy and until now, the lack of efficiency of processes used to recover bitumen have made this a very energy-intensive endeavour.

As global attention on the Alberta oil industry increases, the efficiency challenge has made it difficult for the Alberta O&G sector to capitalize on the attention in a positive way. The large amounts of energy required to extract bitumen has caused much of the world to look at Albertan oil with disdain. The present extraction methods of bitumen from the oil sands have labeled oil products from Alberta as “dirty oil” and yet the demand for oil is increasing worldwide.

At Green NABR, we see the dilemma as a significant one, pertinent to our time, where the global demand for energy is at odds with the global demand for sustainability. In order to reduce the energy requirements of bitumen extraction and the resulting environmental impact from such energy consumption, new highly efficient extraction technologies are required.

If Alberta hopes to maintain its reputation as a global leader in sustainability while exploiting high-viscosity bitumen, alternatives must be explored.

Alberta Oil Extraction.

Alberta has a huge reserve of petroleum locked in the form of bitumen and heavy oils. Arguably, the Athabasca oil sands deposits are the largest reserves of oil in the world.  There are only a few technologies that have proven economically successful in exploiting these reserves. If the deposits are near enough to surface, they can be mined and require enormous amounts of water resulting in significant environmental impact. If the deposits are deep enough from the surface, Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), can be used which also requires enormous amounts of water resulting in significant environmental impact.

Business CaseMining produces tailings ponds which are topologically the most significant blemish on the face of the Alberta oil industry. Extensive research in reducing the impact of tailings ponds is being conducted at this time.

SAGD involves steam injection into formations at high pressure. Solvent addition to the injected steam assists in recovery with less water. The steam/solvent mix must take into account the balance between cost of the solvent and amount of steam required to penetrate the formation and also heat the bitumen.

Other research involves the use of solvent flooding, electrical resistivity and microwave absorption.

Our Solution.

Our Green Non-Aqueous Bitumen Recovery (Green NABR) technology, will be an ultra-high efficient down-hole treatment. Our  current studies show that it will be able to reduce the viscosity of product in various reservoir types including carbonates, shale, oil sand, and heavy oil formations.

We are working with our partners to identify the benefits and limitations of each application in order to best serve the Alberta oil industry.

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