The Canadian oilsands is an enormous petroleum bitumen resource in Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 2017, recoverable oilsands and heavy oil reserves stood at 164 billion barrels or 96 per cent of all oil and gas reserves in Canada. This indicates oilsands will remain a major source of energy for Canadians and a significant component of the ever-growing energy supply for the world.
However, lower oil prices and greater environmental regulation have put tremendous pressure on oilsands producers to reduce their environmental footprint and the energy intensity of bitumen extraction, as well as reduce their cost per barrel and increase efficiency. This industry was built on innovation and is ready to rise to the challenge.
In this presentation, we will explore the main mechanisms involved in thermal in-situ recovery of bitumen and how targeted research seeks to improve each of these mechanisms to increase efficiency. We will also discuss how a structured, step-wise evaluation helps advance technologies, such as thermal additives, along the innovation curve from concept to field trials and, eventually, to commercialization.