Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cenovus Receives Approval for Narrows Lake

Yes it is true! Everyone's favourite oil sands company just had its Narrows Lake project approved. This will be both Cenovus' third operated in-situ oil sand project (behind Foster Creek & Christina Lake) and by far its smallest.

Ground work is expected to start this fall with an initial gross design capacity of 45,000 Bbl/d. First oil isn't expected until 2017. Eventually gross production capacity is expected to reach 130,000 Bbl/d as the project is ramped up over the years.

We all already know that oil is gross, I included gross in the production numbers because what you may not have known is that Cenovus has a partner in the project. ConocoPhillips is a 50% partner and hence each company will be netting 65,000 Bbl/d at the full design capacity. 

Perhaps the most interesting part of this project is that SAP will be included in 25% of the wells in the initial phase, with the potential to be expanded to all well pairs in the latter phases. This will be the first commercial SAP project. Now before everyone in the sugar patch gets too excited about skyrocketing maple syrup prices, SAP stands for solvent aided process. That stuff you get from maple trees every spring is not a solvent. Sorry Quebec, I guess you can jump back on that Thomas Mulclair wellfare  wagon, not that you ever got off of it.

The addition of solvents to the injection stream is expected to greatly improve the performance of the project through higher oil production rates, elevated recovery factors and a much lower overall steam oil ratio. A lower SOR means that less steam is being used to recover a given amount of oil, thus the process will be less water, energy and carbon intensive. That means the environment and our pocket books win, everyone but Thomas Mulclair will be happy.

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