Technology Projects Aim To Help Alberta’s Oil Sands

May 11, 2018
Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) joins industry, innovators and government at the Enlighten Innovation site in Fort Saskatchewan on May 8 to announce funding for nine projects selected through the ERA Oil Sands Innovation Challenge.

Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) joined industry, innovators and government at the Enlighten Innovation site in Fort Saskatchewan on May 8 to announce funding for nine projects selected through the ERA Oil Sands Innovation Challenge. The $70.6 million commitment is leveraged for a combined project value of more than $720 million for Alberta’s oil sands sector. This is reportedly ERA’s biggest challenge to date in terms of funding. 

“ERA’s mandate is to identify and accelerate technologies that have the greatest potential to reduce GHGs,” says ERA CEO Steve MacDonald. “Each of the technologies associated with these nine projects is in the final stages of development and each has the potential to transform Alberta’s oil sands development by significantly reducing both emissions and costs.”

The projects were selected through a competitive process and were required to include an oil sands producer as the lead applicant or as a substantial partner. In total, 47 projects were submitted for consideration.

The technologies will reportedly help Alberta’s oil sands industry meet the provincial climate leadership oil sands legislated emissions limit of 100 megatonnes by 2030. Together, they are estimated to result in potential greenhouse gas emissions reductions of up to 4.1 million tonnes of annual CO2 emissions reductions in Alberta by 2030. The following projects are selected for funding:

Suncor Energy Inc. – High temperature membranes for steam-assisted gravity drainage water treatment

Canadian Natural Resources Limited – In-pit extraction process

Enlighten Innovations (formerly Field Upgrading Ltd.) – CLEANSEAS™ demonstration project

Heavy Oil Solutions Inc. with Cenovus Energy Inc. – Partial upgrader with integrated water treatment

MEG Energy – eMVAPEX pilot, phase 3

Cenovus Energy Inc. – Flash Steam Generation field prototype

Imperial – Enhanced bitumen recovery technology pilot

ConocoPhillips Canada – Non-condensable gas co-injection for thief zone mitigation

Cenovus Energy Inc. – Multi-pad pilot of a solvent-aided process

“Not only is the industry making significant strides in improving our environmental performance, we are achieving this progress through strong collaborative effort and a range of partnerships across industry, governments, academia, and technology providers,” says Joy Romero, vice-president of technology and innovation, Canadian Natural Resources Limited. “Together, with the leadership and support of ERA, Alberta will continue to be a leader in technology investment and emissions reduction to ensure that Canada is well-positioned to be a preferred supplier of responsibly produced crude oil and natural gas and an important part of a lower carbon energy future for decades to come.”

To date, ERA has committed more than $385 million in funding to 129 projects with a total value of approximately $2.7 billion, according to the organization. 

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