SteamAssisted gravity drainage (SAGD) is the drilling of two horizontal wells
into the oil sands, where steam is injected into the top well so it may flow to
the bottom well, where it is pumped to the surface. Its major limitation has
been that it requires large amounts of steam.
Now, this breakthrough oil sands
production technology developed in Alberta is experiencing another breakthrough.
Dr. Roger Butler and his team at the U of C are now working on two variations of
SAGD: the Vapex (vapor extraction) processwhich involves the injection of
solvent vapors into the reservoir, and SAGP processin which gas is added to
the steam of SAGD, thereby decreasing steam consumption by approximately 70 percent. Supporters of this technology include such major corporations as Wascana
Energy Inc., Shell Canada, Gulf Canada Resources Ltd. and Imperial Oil Ltd.
Alberta Research Council. Alberta: The Spirit of Innovation with permission from the Alberta