Canada and Alberta introduce joint plan for improved environmental monitoring in the oil sands

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Proposed oil sands monitoring by 2015. The program is designed to provide an improved understanding of the long-term cumulative effects of oil sands development. A key consideration related to the development of the oil sands is that of habitat disturbance.

Statoil postponing Corner oil sands project for minimum of 3 years; rising costs, limited pipeline access

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Statoil will postpone the previously planned Corner field development at the Kai Kos Dehseh (KKD) oil sands project in Alberta, Canada, for a minimum of three years, due in part to rising labor and materials costs and market access issues including limited pipeline access.

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Alabama, Mississippi to assess oil sands resources in their states

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Alabama and Mississippi are forming a partnership to further study the oil sands resources in the two states, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant announced on Saturday while speaking to the Southern States Energy Board.

New study suggests reported PAH emissions in oil sands region greatly underestimated

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Results from a new modeling assessment of contamination in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) suggest that officially reported emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in that region have been greatly underestimated. Resources. Emissions Oil sands

Canada oil sands producers form alliance to improve environmental performance

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Twelve of Canada’s oil sands producers have formed a new alliance, Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), focused on accelerating the pace of improving environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands through collaborative action and innovation. Tailings are the rock, sand, clay and water byproducts of surface mining, and are currently held in large tailing ponds. Canadian Natural Resources Limited. Imperial Oil.

Fluid thermal processing of Mongolian oil sands

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A study by a team from the State Key Laboratory of Heavy Oil Processing, China University of Petroleum found that fluid thermal processing of. il sands is a feasible process for the production of an upgraded bitumen-derived liquid from Inner Mongolian oil sand. Oil sands exploration in Xing’an region. Israel’s Brack Capital Energy (BCE) is exploring for oil sands reserves in the Xing’an region of Inner Mongolia. Resources.

Study concludes permanent loss of peatlands in open-pit oil sands mining adds significantly to carbon burden of oil sands production

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Researchers at the University of Alberta (Canada) have quantified the transformation of the boreal landscape by open-pit oil sands mining in Alberta, Canada to evaluate its effect on carbon storage and sequestration. Oil sands deposits accessible by open-pit surface mining (as opposed to deeper deposits produced via thermal in-situ methods) cover about 475,000 ha of boreal Alberta, 99% of which is already leased. Resources. LCFS Lifecycle analysis Oil sands

Natural Resources Canada team investigates solvent extraction process for oil sand bitumen; non-aqueous alternative to hot water processing with reduced environmental impacts

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A team of two researchers from Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY reports on a new process for solvent extraction of bitumen from mineable Athabasca oil sands (i.e., In this process, oil sand is mixed with light hydrocarbon solvents, and the solvent–bitumen solution is separated from the mineral solids by centrifugal filtration or regular pressure filtration. Their findings were: Cyclopentane is a good solvent for extracting bitumen from oil sand.

Cenovus receives approval for Grand Rapids oil sands project; capacity to reach 180,000 bbls/d

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received approval from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) for its 100%-owned Grand Rapids thermal oil sands project. Cenovus continues to assess other oil sands opportunities within its portfolio for future development. is a Canadian integrated oil company.

US BLM issues draft PEIS for oil shale and oil sands; significantly scales back public land available for commercial leasing

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The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has published the Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) and Possible Land Use Amendments for Allocation of Oil Shale and Tar Sands Resources on Lands Administered by the BLM in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The Draft PEIS analyzes several alternatives for land allocation and resource management. or oil sands development. RD&D First Requirement (2b), Oil Shale.

Researcher urges more effort on assessment of land and water impacts of oil sands production; reference point for other unconventional fuels

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Bitumen production from the Canadian oil sands provides a point of reference that could be used to observe and better manage the land and water impacts of a rapid transition to unconventional fuels, suggests Dr. Sarah Jordaan of the Energy Technology Innovation Policy Research Group, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University. The production of bitumen, the hydrocarbon mixed in the sand, has grown from 0.7 Resources.

EIA projects world energy use to increase 53% by 2035; oil sands/bitumen and biofuels account for 70% of the increase in unconventional liquid fuels

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World oil prices remain high in the IEO2011 Reference case, but oil consumption continues to grow; both conventional and unconventional liquid supplies are used to meet rising demand. Oil sands/bitumen and biofuels account for 70% of the increase in unconventional liquid fuels.

ExxonMobil licenses oil sands steam injection technology to Baker Hughes

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ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company has awarded the first license for its patented steam injection system and production method to Baker Hughes to improve the efficiency of in-situ oil sands projects. Approximately 80% of Canada’s oil sands can be produced using in-situ technology, which involves the injection of steam to enable bitumen to be extracted through drilling versus surface mining.

New study finds GHG emissions from palm oil production significantly underestimated; palm oil biofuels could be more climate-damaging than oil sands fuels

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The majority (62%) of the plantations were located on the island of Sumatra, and more than two-thirds (69%) of all industrial plantations were developed for oil palm cultivation, with the remainder mostly being Acacia plantations for paper pulp production. The publication of the study coincides with the close of the comment period on a new US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) analysis of the carbon intensity of palm oil biodiesel. Resources.

Fuel 16

Researchers exploring development of biofilms for remediation of oilsands tailings

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Researchers at the Universities of Calgary and Alberta are collaborating on a project for the microbial remediation of oil sands tailings—the waste byproducts of oil sands surface mining that are collected in large manufactured settling basins called tailing ponds.

Consortium completes successful test of new oil sands recovery process using electromagnetic heating technology

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A technology and energy production consortium has successfully completed initial proof-of-concept testing of a novel oil sands extraction method that has the potential to improve environmental performance and reduce development costs. The $33-million program is supported by the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) and the test was approved by the Energy Resources Conservation Board.

New lifecycle analysis of WTW GHG emissions of diesel and gasoline refined in US from Canadian oil sands crude

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In a new, comprehensive study, a team from Argonne National Laboratory, Stanford University and UC Davis ITS has estimated the well-to-wheels (WTW) GHG emissions of US production of gasoline and diesel sourced from Canadian oil sands. g CO 2 e/MJ for US conventional crude oil recovery.

Studies find oil sands-derived crude oil no more corrosive in pipelines than other crudes

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Both scientific research and industrial experience have found that bitumen-derived crude oil (i.e., crude from the oil sands) is no more corrosive in transmission pipelines than other crudes, according to Natural Resources Canada (NRC). ASTM International recently published a guide ( G205 ) for measuring the corrosivity of crude oil under pipeline conditions, based on research conducted by several organizations including the CANMET Laboratories of NRC.

Ceramatec licensing molten sodium technology for heavy oil upgrading; removing the need for diluent for bitumen

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An innovative oil-upgrading technology that can increase the economics of unconventional petroleum resources has been developed under a US Department of Energy-funded project. The largest US deposits of heavy oil are in California and on Alaska’s North Slope. Resources.

U Calgary study finds oil shale most energy intensive upgraded fuel followed by in-situ-produced bitumen from oil sands

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A team at the University of Calgary (Canada) has compared the energy intensities and lifecycle GHG emissions of unconventional oils (oil sands and oil shale) alongside shale gas, coal, lignite, wood and conventional oil and gas. Resources.

Alberta to establish arm’s-length environmental monitoring agency; work to begin in the oil sands region

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The new science-based agency will begin work in the oil sands region and will focus on what is monitored, how it’s monitored and where it’s monitored. A management board named by Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Diana McQueen will immediately begin work to set up the new agency. The work of the management board will be supported through Environment and Sustainable Resource Development’s operating budget.

Osum Oil Sands closes $500M private placement; new investors include government of Singapore

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Canada-based Osum Oil Sands Corp. billion barrels (net) of Best Estimate Contingent Resources through both acquisitions and additional geological and reservoir work in 2011. These additions have brought Osum’s total land position in the Saleski region to more than 173,000 net acres and total Best Estimate Contingent Resources to approximately 3.4 The results are providing insights into how to best develop the Grosmont carbonate resource.

Canada introduces new integrated plan for oil sands monitoring

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Summary of the current oil sands developments (mining and in-situ) and associated land use. Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent released an integrated monitoring plan for the oil sands region. ” —An Integrated Oil Sands Environment Monitoring Plan.

ABMI releases first report on biodiversity in Athabasca Oil Sands Area

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The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) released the first comprehensive report on the status of Alberta’s species in the Athabasca Oil Sands Area (AOSA). —“The Status of Biodiversity in the Athabasca Oil Sands Area”. Canada Oil sands

Oil sands GHG lifecycle study using operating data finds lower emitting oil sands cases outperform higher emitting conventional crude cases; a call for more sophisticated tools and reporting

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Well-to-wheel (WTW) greenhouse gas emissions for in situ SAGD and surface mining pathways generated employing GHOST/TIAX/ GHGenius combination and comparison with SAGD, mining and conventional crude oil literature pathways (all results are on a HHV basis). Resources.

Tailings Technology Roadmap project releases nine development roadmaps for treatment of oil sands fine tailings

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The report provides nine different Tailings Technology Deployment (TDD) Roadmaps to accelerate the implementation of oil sands tailings solutions in Alberta. sand and clay. For the project, Alberta oil sands operators—Suncor Energy, Syncrude Canada Ltd.,

Rystad Energy: Oil sands and Arctic most expensive oil resources; NA shale putting on pressure

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Oil and gas consultancy Rystad Energy estimates that oil sands and the Arctic continue to be the most expensive resources, with an average breakeven price of $75-80 per barrel of oil equivalent (boe).

State Department releases final environmental impact statement on Keystone XL Pipeline Project; analysis of GHG emissions

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Comparison of the percent differential for WTW (well-to-wheel) GHGs from gasoline produced from WCSB oil sands using different production processes relative to gasoline produced from reference crudes. The US Department of State (DOS) released the final version of the Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline project today. The proposed Project is not likely to impact the amount of crude oil produced from the oil sands.

Understanding the variability of GHG life cycle studies of oil sands production

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Brandt considers factors affecting energy consumption and GHG emissions from oil sands extraction, and then uses publicly available data to analyze the assumptions made in the LCA models to better understand the causes of variability in emissions estimates. Resources.

Shell secures C$865M funding for Canadian CO2 storage project; >1M tonnes/yr from oil sands

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The carbon capture process at the Scotford oil sands upgrader will capture about 35% of emissions. miles) underground into the deepest saline aquifer formation in Alberta (the Basal Cambrian Sands) beneath several layers of impermeable rock. Resources.

China Qaidam Oil Sands Proven

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Lab tests conducted by PetroChina of oil sands samples obtained in Yousha Mountains at Qaidam basin in northwest China determined that the resource is proven economically feasible for further exploration and development. According to the company-run China Petroleum Daily newspaper earlier in the week, the oil sands samples are proven with an average bitumen content of 5.2%

Shell to halt 80K bpd Carmon Creek oil sands project

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Royal Dutch Shell plc will not continue construction of the 80,000 barrel per day Carmon Creek thermal in situ oil sands project located in Alberta, Canada. This decision reflects current uncertainties, including the lack of infrastructure to move Canadian crude oil to global commodity markets.

Canada backs demonstration-scale algal biorefinery project in the oil sands; Algal Carbon Conversion

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The Government of Canada is supporting a three-year project that will result in the construction of a $19-million, demonstration-scale facility in Alberta that will use algae to recycle industrial carbon dioxide emissions from an oil sands facility into commercial products such as biofuels. The demonstration-scale algal biorefinery will be established at Canadian Natural’s Primrose South oil sands site, near Bonnyville, Alberta.

CFR Report Says Energy Security and Climate Change Concerns With Oil Sands Can be Reconciled

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Oil sands supply chain. The report argues that oil sands production delivers both energy security benefits and climate change damages, but warns that both are often overstated. “ Oil sands exploitation will not fundamentally change the global oil picture.

U. Calgary analysis of energy balances and emissions of SAGD oil sands production finds need for improved processes; some operations not thermally efficient or net generators of energy

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Plot of cumulative steam-to-oil ratio (cSOR) vs. ratio of energy produced in form of chemical energy contained in bitumen if combusted to energy injected in form of steam (75% efficient steam generation). Resources. Emissions Oil sands

Suncor targeting 1M barrels per day by 2020, some 80% from oil sands; new strategic alliance with Total

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Suncor is targeting 1 million barrels per day output in 2020, with its growth in the oil sands underpinned by its alliance with Total. Approximately 80% of that production will be from the oil sands. Teck Resources Ltd. Total in the oil sands.

Researchers propose framework for CCS infrastructure optimization to reduce GHG emissions from oil sands extraction and processing

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The width of the pipeline network (green lines) is proportional to CO 2 flow; the largest CO 2 flow is approximately 36 MtCO 2 / yr for the $155/tCO 2 scenario (pipeline leaving the Athabasca oil sands area). Two researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Stanford University have developed an integrated framework that simultaneously considers economic and engineering decisions for the capture, transport, and storage of oil sands CO 2 emissions (CCS).

Univ. of Calgary team developing nanocatalysts for underground upgrading of heavy oil and bitumen; possible “next generation” of oil sands production

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Researchers at the University of Calgary are developing ultra-dispersed (UD) nanocatalysts for the in situ upgrading of heavy oil and bitumen from deep reservoirs. underground, without mining—thermal recovery of bitumen and heavy oil: steam injection and combustion. Resources.

New study concludes oil sands development has significantly increased PAH and DBT loadings in regional lakes; combined with effects of climate change, a “new ecological state” for the lakes

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Standardized values (Z scores) of (A) visible reflectance spectroscopy (VRS) chlorophyll a inferences from the five lakes proximate to major oil sands operations as indicators of lake primary production; (B) total PAH concentrations and (C) total DBT concentrations from all six study sites.

Penn State team develops more environmentally friendly method for separating bitumen or oil from sands using ionic liquids

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Separation of bitumen from a Canadian oil sand sample using an ionic liquid. A team of researchers at Penn State has developed a new, more environmentally friendly method of separating bitumen from oil sands utilizing ionic liquids (IL). Oil sands. Oil sand