Digitalizing Extractive Industries

The broad objectives of this research include: (1) to develop an accurate picture of the extent to which digital technologies have been adopted by extractive industries, (2) to understand factors that have impacted on the pace of digitalization, (3) to develop an understanding of how further digitalization could transform extractive industries and the communities and regions in which they operate, and (4) to provide guidance and advice to key stakeholders (industry, governments, institutions, communities) with respect to addressing the opportunities and challenges arising from digitalizatio

Investigating the causes of asphaltenes formation during visbreaking of deasphalted oil

Canadian bitumen has high viscosity compared to conventional crude oils which unable its transportation to upgraders and refineries by pipeline. In order to improve its fluidity, bitumen is submitted to high temperatures that will allow the break of chemical bonds. This process is called visbreaking. Nevertheless, the product is unstable due to the presence of asphaltenes which can precipitate and cause clogging of equipment and olefins that can further polymerize and form gums upon storage.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Fluids in Petroleum Reservoir Core Plugs

This MITACS Accelerate project supports the development of new MR/MRI methods of interest and importance to the international petroleum industry. The project joins the UNB MRI Centre, the leading academic research lab in MRI of petroleum reservoir core plugs, with Green Imaging Technologies, the market leader internationally in the provision of MR/MRI methods for laboratory core analysis to the international petroleum industry. The project results will be incorporated into existing and future products and services sold by Green Imaging Technologies.

Microbial eukaryotic biodiversity in Oil Sands reclamation

The Oil Sands of Northern Alberta are a significant contributor to the Canadian economy but their management is also an important environmental issue for Canadians. Improved reclamation of tailings waste is an integral part of Oil Sands sustainability as an industry and understanding the role of microbes in the reclamation process has been a major area of study. Microbial eukaryotes (organisms sharing the cellular organization with humans and plants) have only recently been recognized as also playing a role in tailings pond communities.

Extended Technology Assessment of Advanced In-situ Recovery Methods for Oil Sands

In-situ recovery methods for oils sands are applied to reservoirs containing bitumen that are too deep for mining. To date there has been only one commercially viable in-situ recovery method, Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), involving high pressure steam injection and bitumen production using horizontal well pairs located near the base of oil sands formations. While SAGD has enabled conversion of significant resources to reserves (about 170 billion barrels), SAGD has many economic and environmental limitations.


The continuing rise in demand, the decline in conventional domestic production, and the belated development of alternatives to petroleum combine to increase the importance of seeking new resources and methods for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The amount, cost, and timing of the EOR contribution are highly uncertain. Additionally, due to the current economical constraints that oil industry is experiencing, the search for a cost-effective recovery method is even more significant.

Enhanced analytical techniques for offshore structural integrity

Lyan Eng. Developments Inc. is looking to find novel ways to make processes in the energy sector more cost efficient. The results from this project have significant applications to pipeline integrity and platform integrity for sub-sea and off-shore applications. The robust failure prediction models are going to help engineers in various disciplines to accurately predict failure in complex structures.


Production of bitumen in Canada has increased considerably in the last decade. Due to its heavy nature, bitumen needs upgrading in order to make it marketable. Partial upgrading, where bitumen is upgraded into transportable oil that meets pipeline specifications, has the potential to maximize the benefits of bitumen commercialization. However, there is not any economical commercial-ready partial upgrading technology in Canada.

Conductive nanocomposite Leak Detection System (LDS) for oil pipeline applications

Transportation of the oil and gas through pipelines network remains a crucial infrastructure for sustaining the economic growth of Canada. A major concern has been the frequent incidents of oil spills which can cause catastrophic failures if remained undetected. Despite a plethora of Leak Detection Systems being used with state-of-the-art technologies, these monitoring systems can only detect a small fraction of oil spills.

Data-driven Adaptive Model Predictive Control of Heat produced by Resistive Heating Elements in Enhanced Oil Recovery

NEXEN has proposed a novel and advanced thermal EOR technique for oil sands recovery, which is both economically efficient and environmentally sustainable as compared to current thermal oil recovery method (SAGD). The focus of this research project is to investigate, analyze, improve, and design heat transfer modeling and control strategies for proposed enhanced oil sands recovery so that it could be commercialized in future. Rate of heat transfer in proposed technique is low as compared to SAGD, which is directly proportional to rate of oil recovery.