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 ...
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.