Posted: March 2, 2014
As conventional sources of crude oil diminish, there is a need to exploit other fuel sources in a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly way. One relatively-untapped source is heavy oil/bitumen from fractured carbonates, which contain more than 60% of the world’s oil reserves. The estimated recovery of carbonate reservoirs to date is only ~10% due to the challenges associated with their extraction.
Researchers at the University of Alberta have developed a novel recovery methodology aimed at extracting heavy oil/bitumen from fractured carbonates. The method is easily implemented using established equipment and extraction materials. Lab-scale experiments indicate faster recovery and a possible yield of up to 80%-95%, in comparison to ~10%-20% with conventional thermal techniques. The method also integrates refining of the recovered oil and recycling of the materials to yield a solution with lower costs and that is environmentally sustainable.
- High recovery rate
- High recovery yield
- Uses off-the-shelf materials, making implementation simple
- Recycling of materials and reduced thermal treatment, enabling environmentally-friendly recovery
The invention represents a valuable opportunity to exploit vast, relatively-untapped oil resources in various parts of the world but, in particular, Canada and the Middle East. We are currently seeking oil production companies to partner with in further development and commercialization.