Imperial Oil files applications for Cold Lake SAGD expansion

Imperial Oil Ltd., Calgary, has filed regulatory applications with Alberta Energy Regulator for a 50,000-b/d expansion of its steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) oil sands operations at the Cold Lake lease area.

Imperial said it has piloted a solvent-assisted SAGD (SA-SAGD) process at Cold Lake since 2010. The company expects SA-SAGD to result in a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity compared with existing SAGD technology through lower energy input per barrel of bitumen recovered. A similar reduction in water use intensity is also expected.

Depending on regulatory approvals and market conditions, Imperial said construction could begin as early as 2019, with production from the Grand Rapids formation starting as early as 2022.

Imperial, a majority-owned Canadian affiliate of ExxonMobil Development Co., started bitumen production at the $2-billion Cold Lake Nabiye project expansion in northeastern Alberta in May 2015 (OGJ Online, May 11, 2015).

The Cold Lake facility is the largest and longest-running in-situ oil sands operation in Canada, and includes five steam generation and bitumen production plants. The operation produced an average of 150,000 b/d of bitumen in recent years.

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