Skip to comments.In Canada, Miniature Heavy-Oil Sites Overcome Slump in Crude Prices
Posted on 10/06/2015 5:45:29 AM PDT by thackney
...Whats unusual about this project is the speed with which it is being builtin a matter of monthsand 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 Saskatchewans 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 Albertahome to the majority of Canadas oil productionthese 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 doesnt 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 wsj.com ...