Wednesday, January 20, 2010

PetroBank Ramps up THAI

It is rare that technological development advances smoothly.  I have been following this project for over two and a half years and this has been exceptional.  In fact the only issue anyone has had to whine about was the sand situation which was already well known but not engineered out of the equation until the original theory was shown to work.  All very reasonable.

Some writers have woken up to the actual importance of this technology.  It is correct to say that this can postpone peak oil for decades.  Observe that its first production development is set to produce 100,000 barrels per day.  It has effectively converted heavy oil into conventional oil for all intents and purposes.  Perhaps a bit strongly stated but close enough that it does not matter.  It makes oil sand mining almost obsolete but that will continue to be used to clean off the surface deposits.  All the rest will be exploited with THAI and not SAGD which is clearly obsolete.

We can expect Canada’s commercial oil reserves to now exceed one trillion barrels, or equal to all the oil produced to date worldwide.  Significant reserves throughout the USA will also become exploitable and all formerly productive fields will be subject to a good second look.  After all, at least half the oil was left behind.

In the meantime the US has zoomed back to been the lead global producer of natural gas thanks to success with shale gas. 

The bottom line is that the USA and Canada are about to be totally self sufficient in gas and oil even without any help from other energy technology. 

I remember an article in Scientific America back perhaps thirty years ago in which it was observed that including Canada’s tarsands gave the country a quarter of the global resource.  Since then a lot of oil has been discovered elsewhere so the ratio has hardly stood up.

We have burned one trillion barrels.  Another trillion is in place in conventional reserves and Canada has a spare trillion in reserve that is now readily produced just like conventional oil in terms of overall impact.

Some may want to quibble over my bandying about the trillion word, but the fact we gave up counting a long time ago when we hit two thirds of that value.  It cost money to properly show these values and it has to be worth while. 

Petrobank Ramps Up THAI  Operations
2010-01-06 19:38:00

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(eMediaWorld - Jan. 6, 2010) - Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd. ("Petrobank" or the "Company") (TSX:PBG) is pleased to provide an update on our THAITM projects.

Kerrobert Project

The Kerrobert THAITM project is a 50/50 joint venture with Baytex Energy Trust. This joint venture project highlights the global applicability of THAITM technology in conventional heavy oil resources. We believe that a significant portion of the estimated 20 billion of barrels of unrecovered conventional heavy oil resource in Saskatchewan can be commercialized using THAITM.

At Kerrobert, we have been on continuous air injection and the wells have been on production since late October. Since this project involves mobile oil, our original plan was to utilize temporary hydraulic pumps on each well to create a drawdown pressure across the horizontal well and, as combustion gas production increased, we would cease pumping and flow the wells by produced gas lift. As previously reported, the initial fluid production volumes were tested at 180 to 300 barrels per day per well, with oil cuts ranging from zero to 40%. However, during the transition phase to gas lift we learned that liquid inflow to the production wells exceeded the pump's capacity, which limited our ability to draw down the wells and also caused frequent pump failures. On December 21, 2009 we re-configured the pump in KP1 to improve its pumping capacity and we are currently re-configuring KP2.

Since the re-configuration, fluid production rates from KP1 have ranged from 250 to 420 barrels per day with oil cuts averaging 36% and reaching as high as 65%. We have also increased the air injection rate to 50,000 m3/day and the produced gas rate has increased to 8,000 m3/day. Well bore temperatures are rising with toe temperatures consistently in the 120 to 140 degrees Celsius range. Produced gas composition confirms high temperature combustion and we have recently measured an improvement in the API and viscosity of the produced oil. We expect to have the KP2 pump reconfigured and producing at similar rates to KP1 within the next few days.

Surface facilities have been operating smoothly with only minor cold weather and early start-up related issues. We have not had any solids or produced sand. The next expansion of our air compression capacity will be installed at the beginning of April. Due to the current pump limitations, we intend to replace them in the near future with a higher capacity design, targeting 500 barrels of oil per day ("bopd") per well. We are also finalizing our plans for the development of the initial earned lands which would encompass up to 20 additional production wells in this portion of the pool. We plan to commence this expansion in the third quarter of this year.

Conklin (Whitesands Project)

At Conklin, we effectively shut-in the majority of our production from August to November to facilitate the re-drilling of the P1 and P2 wells. The P1B and P2B replacement wells were then placed on production at the end of November as planned, and air injection rates have been increased to close to design capacity. In a re-start situation such as this, early production consists of bitumen and condensed steam from the pre-heating period. We are now seeing the expected increase in combustion gas and improving oil quality and oil production rates. P3B has been choked back during the start up of the new wells to manage the gas balance between all three wells.

Total oil production has reached 350 bopd and, although overall facility efficiency has been impacted by severe cold weather, we target increasing total Conklin production to 900 bopd by the end of the first quarter. We have now revised our maximum target production for the Conklin pilot to 1500 bopd and we anticipate reaching this production level in mid 2010.

May River Project

The May River Project is our first large-scale commercial THAITM application on Petrobank's oil sands leases west of Conklin, Alberta. The May River design builds on the experience gained from the Conklin facility, and incorporates many of the simplifications that have been successfully implemented in Kerrobert. The project will be built in phases, with initial production capacity of 10,000 bopd and an ultimate capacity of up to 100,000 bopd.

The regulatory application for May River's first phase was filed with the Energy Resources and Conservation Board ("ERCB") and Alberta Environment in December 2008. The application has been deemed complete and is now moving through the regulatory process. We have received the supplemental information requests ("SIRs") from Alberta Environment on March 31st and from the ERCB on July 17th. The responses to both the SIRs were filed mid-December and we anticipate approval in early 2010. To provide investors with more insight into the Alberta regulatory process, our application with the SIRs and all related documents are available on the ERCB website at

Front-end engineering and design for the May River Project was completed at the end of the fourth quarter of 2009. The design incorporates self sufficient power generation utilizing low-BTU produced gas, produced gas sweetening, and future add-on capability for carbon dioxide capture. Unlike other existing oil sands projects, our project will be a net water producer, rather than a water consumer. These design elements combine to make the May River Project an environmentally sustainable process for oil sands and heavy oil development. The project is also designed to utilize a modular approach with direct and immediate applicability to heavy oil projects world-wide.

Dawson Project

The Dawson Project is located near Peace River, Alberta and will be developed in the Bluesky formation. The regulatory application for the project was filed on April 2, 2009. We received Alberta Environment's conditional approval on June 26th and ERCB's SIRs were received at the end of November. We expect to file our response in the next two weeks. This project will incorporate our learnings from the Kerrobert project and will demonstrate the THAITM technology in a mobile Peace River oil sands reservoir.

Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd. is a Calgary-based oil and natural gas exploration and production company with operations in western Canada and Latin America. The Company operates high-impact projects through three business units and a technology subsidiary. The Canadian Business Unit, operated by Petrobank's 64% owned TSX-listed subsidiary, PetroBakken Energy Ltd. (TSX:PBN), is a premier light oil production company combining high growth, long-life Bakken reserves and production with legacy conventional light oil assets, delivering industry leading operating netbacks, strong cash flows and production growth. The Latin American Business Unit, operated by Petrobank's 67% owned TSX listed subsidiary, Petrominerales Ltd. (TSX:PMG), is a Latin American-based exploration and production company producing oil in Colombia with 16 exploration blocks covering a total of 1.9 million acres in the Llanos and Putumayo Basins of Colombia and 2.6 million acres in the Ucayali Basin of Peru. Whitesands Insitu Partnership, a partnership between Petrobank and its wholly-owned subsidiary Whitesands Insitu Inc., owns 75 net sections of oil sands leases in Alberta, 36 sections of oil sands licenses in Saskatchewan and operates the Whitesands project which is field-demonstrating Petrobank's patented THAITM heavy oil recovery process. THAITM is an evolutionary in-situ combustion technology for the recovery of bitumen and heavy oil that integrates existing proven technologies and provides the opportunity to create a step change in the development of heavy oil resources globally. THAITM and CAPRITM are registered trademarks of Archon Technologies Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petrobank.

Forward Looking Statements. Certain information provided in this press release constitutes forward-looking statements. The words "anticipate", "expect", "project", "estimate", "forecast" and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Specifically, this press release contains forward-looking statements relating to results of operations, future well performance reserves, and the timing of certain projects. The reader is cautioned that assumptions used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect. Actual results achieved during the forecast period will vary from the information provided herein as a result of numerous known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors. You can find a discussion of those risks and uncertainties in our Canadian securities filings. Such factors include, but are not limited to: general economic, market and business conditions; fluctuations in oil prices; the results of exploration and development drilling, recompletions and related activities; timing and rig availability, outcome of exploration contract negotiations; fluctuation in foreign currency exchange rates; the uncertainty of reserve estimates; changes in environmental and other regulations; risks associated with oil and gas operations; and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. There is no representation by Petrobank that actual results achieved during the forecast period will be the same in whole or in part as those forecast. Except as may be required by applicable securities laws, Petrobank assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements made herein or otherwise, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Resources and Contingent Resources. In this press release, Petrobank has disclosed estimated volumes of "contingent resources" or "resource" estimates. "Resources" are oil and gas volumes that are estimated to have originally existed in the earth's crust as naturally occurring accumulations but are not capable of being classified as "reserves". The following are excerpts from the definition of "contingent resources" as contained in Section 5 of the COGE Handbook, which is referenced by the Canadian Securities Administrators in "National Instrument 51-101 Standards of Disclosure for Oil and Gas Activities". "Contingent resources" are those quantities of petroleum estimated, as of a given date, to be potentially recoverable from known accumulations using established technology or technology under development, but which are not currently considered to be commercially recoverable due to one or more contingencies. Contingencies may include factors such as economic, legal, environmental, political, and regulatory matters, or a lack of markets. It is also appropriate to classify as "contingent resources" the estimated discovered recoverable quantities associated with a project in the early evaluation stage. "Contingent resources" are further classified in accordance with the level of certainty associated with the estimates and may be subclassified based on project maturity and/or characterized by their economic status. "Resources" and "contingent resources" do not constitute, and should not be confused with, reserves.

No comments: