Testing the use of chemical additives to improve the efficiency of thermal oil recovery processes

Steam injection in-situ bitumen/heavy oil recovery processes are very energy intensive and generate a significant amount of green house gases. The use of solvents may be the ultimate in reducing the energy input for in-situ bitumen/heavy oil recovery. However, the solvent processes, tested in the field, have not demonstrated to be economical thus far. Hence the use of chemical additive may bridge the gap until solvent processes can be proven in the field. Chemical additives may be a quick and economic way to increase the efficiency of in situ bitumen/heavy oil recovery.

Effects of the porous medium and pressure drawdown on the foamy-oil flow and heavy oil recovery in the CHOPS reservoirs

Western Canada has vast heavy oil deposits in many thin heavy oil reservoirs with less than 10-m main pay zones. The cold heavy oil production with sand (CHOPS) is the primary production process in the heavy oil reservoirs. However, a typical CHOPS process can recover only 5?15% of the initial oil-in-place. As a secondary heavy oil recovery method, waterflooding has had a limited success in the past.

Foamy Oil Direct Visualization during Solvent Injection Processes

This project is aimed for an accurate and highly convenient methodology to visually investigate the multiphase flow behavior, foamy oil stability and solvent mass transfer in solvent injection processes.

Development of chemical additives to improve the efficiency of solvent-aided thermal bitumen recovery processes - Year two

AlbCurrent commercial recovery method of Alberta’s oil sands is Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) which requires large amounts of steam. This means that large amounts of natural gas are burned to produce steam resulting in significant greenhouse gas emissions.

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.