I share this recent release from Petrobank who is pioneering the THAI protocol for producing the tarsands. They have successfully implemented THAI and are now testing CAPRI which is a catalytic sleeve in the production well. They are also installing a slotted liner system which should eliminate the sand inflow problem.
Remember this pilot system is only two years old. They are now also ramping up the air input in order to maximize production. Remember that in the early going, the burn front would be small preventing full air flow.
Now with plenty of oil removed it should be easy to expand air flow. It is projected that each well will achieve production rates of around 1000 barrels per day and sustain this for at least three years if not a great deal longer. No one is that courageous yet.
Read my post of a year ago to get a quick description:
I cannot over exaggerate how important THAI technology is. Without CAPRI a THAI well is converting 8 degrees API oil to 12 degrees API while also producing some lights. It is doing this without mining the tarsand or putting any fuel into the formation. The environmental footprint is little different that that of a conventional oil well with perhaps a little more CO2 allowed to escape that is surplus to what is dissolved into the formation itself which is beneficial in releasing the oil from the sand.
With CAPRI, it seems possible to bring the gravity up to perhaps 17 degrees API and that will make it directly shippable into the pipelines, or so close as to be easily upgraded.
The available resource in the tarsands has always been estimated at well over a trillion barrels. They gave up trying to actually measure it a long time ago because it was not obviously producible. This technology will make all of it producible at recoveries that will approach a mind boggling seventy percent. This translates into a reserve picture exceeding one trillion barrels of oil very soon. This matches all the oil ever consumed and can be expected to exceed that of Saudi Arabia by one hundred percent at least.
All this while eliminating the environmental problems and costs related to mining this stuff.
I fully expect that the developed world will now move heaven and earth to lower our dependence on oil as a fuel. Having this reserve coming on stream gives us the energy security to do so without out of control pricing and rationing. It also puts all the other producers on notice that we no longer need their oil.
This technology will also access billions of barrels of oil that was bypassed over the past century. Many other small heavy oil fields were found, although most were quite large by conventional standards, and this technology will open them up. Depleted field may also respond to this method provide that they can be dehydrated.
A speculation can be made asserting that global reserves will reach ten trillion barrels. I have no inventory list to support that number and suspect that it will be conservative. I think we could find half of that in North America.
The point is that we actually could stay on an oil diet while the whole globe properly modernized. What we cannot do is continue to convert fossil fuels into CO2. And this blog has discovered many excellent sustainable strategies to exploit that are far more beneficial, including the conversion of all that CO2 into biochar.
Petrobank Announces First THAI(TM)/CAPRI(TM) Production
Mon Sep 22, 12:01 AM
CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Sept. 22, 2008) - Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd. ("Petrobank" or the "Company") (TSX: PBG.TO) is pleased to announce results from the world's first CAPRI(TM) in-situ catalytic production well (P-3B) at our Whitesands project near Conklin, Alberta.
Whitesands P-3B Update
Petrobank drilled P-3B late in the second quarter of 2008 and completion operations commenced on the well in late July. This well has been designed to demonstrate the additional upgrading potential of our patented CAPRI(TM) process which places an active catalyst bed between two concentric slotted liners.
In laboratory tests, CAPRI(TM) has achieved an upgrading effect of seven degrees API in addition to the upgrading effect resulting from the THAI(TM) process. The P-3B well also incorporates our narrower slot design, intended to significantly reduce sand production from the McMurray sandstone reservoir typically encountered at Whitesands.
Since air injection and oil production commenced in August from P-3B, the well has been on continuous production, with no appreciable produced sand. Initial produced fluids consisted of oil and water emulsions from the steam preheat as well as residual drilling mud, which diminished as the well cleaned up. Recently we have achieved oil production volumes of up to 300 barrels per day on low air injection rates, with oil cuts of 40 to 50%. While it is still too early to determine the effectiveness of the catalyst, the produced oil has been upgraded to 11.5 degrees API due to the thermal cracking effects of the THAI(TM) process. Currently P-3B is operating at a well bore temperature below the optimum range for the catalyst to be effective. We are presently increasing well bore temperatures up to 300 degrees Celsius for optimum catalyst efficiency and we will continue to analyze produced oil quality to assess the catalyst effectiveness. Produced gas analysis from P-3B is consistent with the P-1 and P-2 wells and indicates high temperature combustion with free hydrogen.
During the early startup phase of the P-3B well we have continued to operate the P-1 and P-2 wells at lower air injection rates. These wells have recently achieved high on-stream factors with oil production rates of up to 400 barrels per day for each well at a quality of approximately 12 degrees API, compared to the native 8 degree API bitumen in-situ. Now that P-3B production is stabilizing, we are gradually increasing air injection on all three wells, which is expected to result in further increases in fluid and oil production.
During August we also installed facilities to recover lighter oil that is currently being carried by the overhead gas stream as a vapor which is then condensing in the secondary separators. This lighter oil is over 30 degrees API and is not included in the production rates noted above. This lighter oil component further demonstrates significant in-situ thermal cracking and the potential for co-production of other high-value by-products.
Our revised facilities design utilizing primary gas separation followed by tank separation of oil, water and sand (rather than using a single pressure vessel) is being installed on P-3B and, when combined with the narrower liner slot size, is expected to eliminate most operational challenges caused by sand production in this well and future wells.
Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd.
Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd. is a Calgary-based oil and natural gas exploration and production company with operations in western Canada and Colombia. The Company operates high-impact projects through three business units and a technology subsidiary. The Canadian Business Unit is developing a solid production platform from low risk gas opportunities in central Alberta and an extensive inventory of Bakken light oil locations in southeast Saskatchewan, complemented by new exploration projects and a large undeveloped land base. The Latin American Business Unit, operated by Petrobank's 76.2% owned TSX-listed subsidiary, Petrominerales Ltd. (trading symbol: PMG), is a Latin American-based exploration and production company producing oil from three blocks in Colombia and has contracts on 15 exploration blocks covering a total of 1.6 million acres in the Llanos and Putumayo Basins. Whitesands Insitu Partnership, a partnership between Petrobank and its wholly-owned subsidiary Whitesands Insitu Inc., owns 75 net sections of oil sands leases in Alberta, 36 sections of oil sands licenses in Saskatchewan and operates the Whitesands project which is field-demonstrating Petrobank's patented THAI(TM) heavy oil recovery process. THAI(TM) is an evolutionary in-situ combustion technology for the recovery of bitumen and heavy oil that integrates existing proven technologies and provides the opportunity to create a step change in the development of heavy oil resources globally. THAI(TM) and CAPRI(TM) are registered trademarks of Archon Technologies Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petrobank.