Canadian Manufacturing

Thai state-owned firm joins solvent bitumen extraction pilot in Alberta

PTTEP Canada will join N-Solv in its waterless bitumen extraction pilot in northern Alberta

CALGARY—The Canadian subsidiary of Thai state-owned oil and gas firm PTT Public Co. Ltd., is joining Calgary-based N-Solv Corp. in its waterless bitumen extraction pilot in northern Alberta.

PTTEP Canada Ltd., will join the project through a data access agreement as N-Solv continues with its bitumen extraction solvent technology (BEST) pilot at Suncor Energy Inc.’s Dover lease near Fort McMurray, Alta.

The pilot uses N-Solv’s patented in situ production technology, a solvent-based bitumen extraction process that uses no water and has the potential to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from bitumen extraction by as much as 85 per cent.

N-Solv claims the process also produces higher quality oil due to in situ asphaltene and heavy metal rejection.

“N-Solv’s technology uses no water, requires 85 per cent less energy to produce bitumen, and leaves a smaller environmental footprint than current in situ production techniques,” company vice-president Murray Smith said in a statement.

“This technology could be a significant solution to concerns regarding emissions from growing oil sands production. PTTEP has shown its interest in N-Solv as a go-forward technology for producing the oil sands sustainably, responsibly and efficiently.”

The company did not outline what type of role, if any, PTTEP would play in the pilot.

“We started injecting and circulating solvent this past February,” N-Solv chief executive John Nenniger said. “We’ve had a consistent production trend to this point and the data is showing us that we are on the right track, the right track being daily increases in oil production.

“It’s equally gratifying to see others recognize the progress we are making, in particular through the position PTTEP has taken by participating with us at this stage of the project.”

N-Solv has received financial support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp. (CCEMC) for work on the BEST pilot.

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