ARC has been working with several oil producers to develop a new heavy oil extraction process. The process, called Thermal Solvent Extraction, combines elements of two existing in-situ extraction processes, a solvent-assisted (cold) "VAPEX" process and a thermal (hot) "SAGD" process, and is being evaluated for use in leases in the Fort McMurray area.
The new process could reduce costs, as it requires less
water, and could generate less CO2, than current SteamAssisted methods. The original project, begun in 1997, was co-funded by Suncor Energy Inc. and ARC. A consortium of four companies, Suncor, Petro-Canada Oil and Gas, Imperial Oil Resources Ltd. and Husky Oil Operations Ltd., together with the Alberta Energy Research Institute and Natural Resources Canada, now support the work.
ARC provides reservoir technology in support of these companies' long-term goals of integrating extraction and operating processes in a synergistic approach.
Alberta Research Council. Alberta Research Council 2000 Annual Report. Edmonton: Alberta
Research Council, 2000 with permission from the Alberta