This is the first commercial field rollout of the technology that is scaled to be replicated throughout the existing Tarsands.
The Tarsands of course are the world’s largest single resource of oil. It represents thirty to fifty percent of known reserves and likely over fifty percent of unexploited reserves. Present day mining methods can only hope to tap a very small fraction of that resource and may already be approaching optimization.
This is the technology that will release the remaining resource on a scale comparable and even surpassing conventional production recoveries.
This first rollout is permitted for 100,000 barrels per day and can be easily replicated to achieve production levels approaching ten and fifteen million barrels per day and I anticipate supplying a third of final global oil demand that will slacken back to under fifty millions of barrels per day.
Simply put, air is driven down an injection well to ignite a combustion front that expands and follows a horizontally laid recovery well. The combustion operates at high temperature and pressure causing oil reforming and slow reservoir stripping. The process fluid already partially reformed passes through a catalytic sleeve in the production well that gives it another reforming boost. This results in two thousand barrels of fluid production with a fifty percent oil cut. The oil has been upgraded from a source gravity of as low as 8 to hot production oil whose gravity is at around 12 for THAI and perhaps 15 to 17 with CAPRI. It will often be pumpable as is and will require markedly less thinning additions.
Combustion byproducts mainly stay in the reservoir and assist in the process itself. Thus the environmental footprint is a small fraction of any other recovery method. It is almost too good to be true, but it has actually worked very well every step to date.
This project can be expected to be complete over the next four years and while it is been implemented the several pilot wells already been operated will help perfect the technology. This should allow another tenfold jump in production to be planned and financed within a couple of years.
I suspect that the only bottleneck facing this company will be the availability of tradesmen. Time to get your welding ticket.
Vista Projects Wins Contract for Major Petrobank Project
February 23, 2009 9:01 AM EST
CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2009) - Calgary-based engineering firm, Vista Projects Limited, announced today that it has been awarded the contract to provide Front End Engineering Design (FEED) services to Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd. ("Petrobank") for the well pad and pipeline package of Petrobank's May River project. The northern Alberta venture will be a commercial application of Petrobank's patented THAI(TM) (toe to heel air injection) technology, aiming to produce 10,000 barrels of oil per day with no net water use.
"We are delighted to be working with Petrobank for the May River Whitesand project," said Alex Campbell, founder and principal of Vista Projects. "Vista's long history in heavy oil and bitumen processing and its expertise in providing innovative solutions is a good fit for Petrobank's flagship technology and development."
"Vista Projects was selected because we value their track record for solving complex problems in a cost-efficient manner," said Greg Deuchar, Whitesands Project Manager for Petrobank.
Petrobank's THAI(TM) technology is an innovative process in the extraction of bitumen and production of heavy oil. It utilizes an in-situ combustion technique that injects high-pressure air into the structure that ignites the bitumen causing the air to pressure the thermally cracked oil towards the producing well. Water usage is minimal. The revolutionary system offers substantial environmental and operational cost benefits as compared to competing in-situ SAGD or CSS processes due to the minimal usage of energy and water. The process also requires lower capital investment than steam assisted production of bitumen and produces higher quality produced oil.
The Vista Projects well pad design will be the first of its kind to utilize the THAI(TM) technology on a commercial scale. The project will be constructed in three phases and is scheduled for completion in 2010.
About Vista Projects Limited
Vista Projects Limited is a multi-discipline, technical engineering firm providing solutions to energy firms in Western Canada. While Vista has been active in all aspects of the oil and gas market, it has grown to become a leading engineering firm for thermal energy projects, working on some of the most successful SAGD projects in the Alberta Oil Sands.
THAI(TM) is a registered trademark of Archon Technologies Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Petrobank.FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Brookline Public Relations, Inc. Rebecca Eras Media Contact (403) 538-5641 x 108 Fax: (403) 466-4523 (FAX) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd.