Applying Diluent to Reduce Steam
Producing steam for SAGD operations requires heat energy, usually using natural gas, plus a water source and capital-intensive surface facilities. Reduce your steam needs, and you can cut back on all of those other things – energy usage, water usage and capital spending. AOS’s Clearwater Project will use much less steam than a similar-sized conventional SAGD operation.
In addition to operating at low pressure, the SAGD process at Clearwater will inject diluent to act as a solvent and help get the bitumen flowing underground. This will cut back on the amount of steam required for a given volume of bitumen production by nearly 45 percent. It’s known as lowering the “steam-to-oil-ratio” or SOR, the amount of steam needed to get an equivalent amount of bitumen flowing.
At Clearwater, we intend to reduce the SOR from a typical 3.2:1 under conventional SAGD to as little as 1.8:1 using the combination of low pressure and diluent. That will create across-the-board benefits: lower natural gas consumption, less water required, smaller surface facilities, higher productivity, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The diluent injected into the reservoir will be recycled multiple times, and only a small percentage will remain behind in the reservoir.