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In Canada, Miniature Heavy-Oil Sites Overcome Slump in Crude Prices
Wall Street Journal ^ | Oct. 6, 2015 | CHESTER DAWSON

Posted on 10/06/2015 5:45:29 AM PDT by thackney

...What’s unusual about this project is the speed with which it is being built—in a matter of months—and its compact, football field-size. Oil-sands sites typically take years to build and require hundreds or thousands of acres of land. At a time when slumping crude-oil prices have shelved most new oil-sands projects in neighboring Alberta and halted drilling for all but the most productive shale oil wells in the Bakken formation on both sides of the border, pint-size sites are proliferating in Saskatchewan’s oil patch.

...three other similarly size heavy-oil projects are rising on a landscape filled with cattle pastures and duck ponds....

Like their larger oil-sands brethren in Alberta—home to the majority of Canada’s oil production—these newer sites in Saskatchewan extract crude by drilling horizontal wells and then pumping in steam from natural gas-fired generators to loosen up the thick oil deposits.

Typical steam-powered oil-sands plants produce from 30,000 to 100,000 barrels a day, but smaller-scale thermal heavy oil facilities produce as few as 2,000 barrels a day. Both use a technology called steam-assisted gravity drainage, or SAGD, to tap subterranean deposits of molasses-like crude oil. Smaller operations benefit from lower construction and operating costs, faster production ramp-ups and higher prices for their crude than traditional supersize oil-sands projects. That means they can make money below the roughly $65 a barrel needed for most new larger-scale projects to break even.

“Oil at $40 a barrel doesn’t scare us the way it scares oil-sands producers,” said Chad Harris, the founder and chief executive of startup firm Serafina Energy, which expects to produce 6,000 barrels a day starting in the first half of next year at its roughly 180 million-Canadian-dollar (US$134 million) plant in Edam. That facility is to be the first of several small_SAGD plants that Serafina,,,plans to own and operate.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Canada; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: energy; oil; oilsands

1 posted on 10/06/2015 5:45:29 AM PDT by thackney
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To: thackney


2 posted on 10/06/2015 7:13:22 AM PDT by gibsosa
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