Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bubbling leaks at CNRL's Primrose CSS project cast shadow over company and industry

Bitumen seep at Primrose. Picture stolen from the Edmonton Journal.
Since at least May, CNRL's Primrose Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS, or "Huff and Puff") project has been leaking bitumen to the surface near Cold Lake and Bonnyville. In total an estimated 6,600 barrels have leaked. The company has stopped steaming that part of the reservoir (under orders from the Alberta Energy Regulator, or AER) and the leak rate is now reportedly under 20 barrels per day and declining daily. It could continue leaking (at lower and lower rates) for months or even years. At the moment Primrose is CNRL's only producing in-situ oil sands project, although a number of others are in various stages of development.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The trouble with MEGALOADS

A megaload on its way to Kerl. Picture stolen from
Athabasca says it will continue moving "megaloads" through Idaho to get the facilities at its Hangingstone SAGD project up and running. Specifically they're trying to move in big evaporators which opposition groups, including the Nez Perce tribe, say clog up roads and ruin scenery. Oil sands operators like using big modules because they mean less fabrication on site, which has helped make the oil sands notorious for cost overruns.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Could oilsands crude be shipped in the Atlantic sooner than the Pacific?

A map of the Portland-Montreal pipeline.
From the surprisingly detailed Wikipedia article.
So what will be the first port to put oilsands crude on the water (not to be confused with in the water, knock on wood)? Well according to this article, if the Portland-Montreal-Pipeline company has anything to say about it, it might be in Portland, Maine, that bitumen finally takes to the seas. It's a bit confusing, but it appears the company is owned by Suncor, Imperial and Shell.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

CNRL's Horizon expansion under budget (so far)

The Horizon mine today, picture stolen from CNRL homepage.
Here's an article about the progress on CNRL's Horizon mine expansion. On the upgrade from 110,000 to 250,000 barrels per day, they say they're now 20% done and 10% under budget. Doesn't say if the expansion is on schedule (although CNRL's Kirby SAGD project is apparently ahead of schedule). Ultimately they say they're going to increase the mine size to 500,000 barrels per day, although don't provide a timeline or anything on how they intend to do so, as far as I can see.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Algae to reduce oilsands emissions?

Some bioreactors. Picture stolen from the Pond Biofuels
Here's an interesting article about a pilot plant being made by CNRL and Pond Biofuels. Basically it appears they want to use CO2 produced in oilsands facilities to grow algae, which can then be used as animal feed, biofuel or fertilizer. The $19 million facility will be built at CNRL's Primrose South site near Bonnyville

Clearly early days on this, but might turn out to be something important.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sinking bitumen to cause big trouble for Pacific exports?

A guy talking near some jars of bitumen.
Stolen from here.
Here's an article about how some scientists think that some diluted bitumen would sink in the event of an oil spill in the ocean. 
Merv Fingas says that Enbridge's expert, Alan Maki, is wrong when he says diluted bitumen is wrong. Fingas says the diluent separates from the bitumen in time, and then any bitumen that is denser than salt water will sink in the ocean, making cleanup more difficult. Quite a lot of bitumen is denser than salt water, although not all. He adds that bitumen is less damaging to sea life than conventional oil because it has "fewer soluble toxins". I suppose that squares with the observation that fish in the Athabasca river appear to be fine despite exposure to bitumen for thousands (millions?) of years.

Enbridge to transport crude from AOC's Hangingstone project

Hangingstone project map. Ruthlessly stolen from the
Athabasca homepage. Note the prosimity to Ft. Mac.
Enbridge, an Alberta pipeline company, has made an agreement with Athabasca Oil Corp (AOC) to transport crude from AOC's Hangingstone project. They say this will cost Enbridge $200 million, apparently for running a 50 kilometre line from Hangingstone to its Cheecham terminal and expanding the facility there as required. They say Enbridge already connects 8 oilsands projects to terminals.