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How SAGD Equipment Helps to Recover Bitumen from Oil Sands

Neil Richards - Friday, January 05, 2018
How SAGD Equipment Helps to Recover Bitumen from Oil Sands

Alberta's oil sands are one of the world's largest suppliers of bitumen, and with oil prices dropping down to below $40 a barrel, making use of SAGD equipment to recover this critical resource from the oil sands has become increasingly essential. Not only is SAGD (Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage) incredibly effective, it's also extremely economical and has a minimal impact on the environment.

Cutting-Edge Technology

SAGD is the process where heat and steam work in conjunction to bring deep reserves of bitumen up to the surface for retrieval. Obtaining bitumen with SAGD equipment requires drilling two horizontal wells deep inside the oil sands, with one set about five meters above the other. Steam is then pumped continuously into the upper wellbore, heating up the bitumen and making it much less viscous. This runnier oil then seeps into the lower wellbore with the aid of gravity. From there, it is then pumped to the surface for collection.

Efficient Recovery

Over 80% of bitumen (to the tune of around 135 billion barrels) is at depths that are entirely unattainable using conventional mining techniques, but using SAGD equipment greatly improves recovery levels while drastically reducing the cost. At these depths, open pit mining is no longer an option. By simply installing two parallel pipes, yielding bitumen becomes a much more economical process. Softening the bitumen using heat and steam turns it into a thinner substance that is easily channeled to the surface using the aid of a pump. The use of SAGD equipment is incredibly efficient, delivering 80% more bitumen than more archaic techniques such as cyclic steam stimulation.

Environmentally Conscious

There's no need to worry excessively about the environmental impact of harvesting bitumen when you rely on SAGD equipment to secure it. This process is remarkably environmentally sound and has a significantly smaller footprint than other conventional processes. Because it reaches such deep levels in the ground, the effect on the surface is typically limited to just 10-15% of the above-ground area. This process allows for compliance with the environmental regulations in place and you will be less likely to be hit with a sizable fine.

In this current market, having SAGD equipment that you can rely on is vital. Being able to quickly get to the site and become operational is of the utmost importance, and having equipment you can run 24/7 is key to optimizing the slim margins in the industry. Contact us today to learn how our SAGD equipment can maximize your bitumen recovery without diminishing your profits or the environment.

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