April 23, 2014

Alberta Bitumen- No to Asia for Now

The Alberta oil industry’s Northern Gateway plan is to export bitumen to Asia via tankers from the BC coast.  Under no circumstances should we allow that to happen.

A bitumen spill at sea could destroy our coastline, together with the fish and wildlife that depend on it, for hundreds of years.

I have previously discussed the light oil spill by the Exxon Valdez and the terrible toll it took on the Alaskan habitat and fishery.  It also gave proof that a bitumen spill would be far worse. A bitumen spill would be almost completely unrecoverable because it would sink and stay on the bottom of our seabed.

The solution that is best for Canada is to build a refinery in Kitimat.  I am promoting and backing this solution.  It will convert the bitumen to very light fuels that would float and evaporate if ever spilled.  There are other enormous benefits:

• There will be a major reduction in greenhouse gases.  We will use new cutting-edge Canadian technology in our refinery.  It will be so clean that, in combination with oilsands extraction, there will be less CO2 than in the huge conventional oilfields and refineries of Iraq and Nigeria.  In other words, the Kitimat refinery will neutralize the extra greenhouse gases generated in Canada’s oilsands.

This refinery will be built in Asia if not in Kitimat, and if so it will emit double the CO2 of our new design.  This is the reason that Andrew Weaver of the BC Green Party is in favour of a Canadian refinery.

• An Asian refinery will also generate 100 train cars a day of very dirty coke (much fouler than B.C. coal) which will be subsequently burnt in the atmosphere to create power.  The Kitimat refinery will not result in the production of any coke. As we all live on one planet, it is far better for the global environment to build this refinery in Canada.

• Construction of the refinery will create 6,000 jobs in B.C. for five years. Operations at the refinery will result in more permanent jobs than any project has ever created in BC with approximately 3,000 direct jobs. These will be highly paid permanent jobs. These jobs will be available for the life of the refinery which should be in excess of 50 years. In addition there will be thousands of other jobs created in spinoff local petrochemical companies and in indirect employment throughout the province.

• The Canadian and provincial governments, local regional districts and municipalities, and many First Nations, will share in billions of new tax dollars each year.

Unfortunately our Canadian oil companies are not interested in building a new major refinery.  They are focused on extraction which is more profitable than refining.  One of them challenged me to spearhead the refinery myself, so I am doing that.  We have a solid business plan and as a consequence Chinese banks and other institutions are prepared to lend us most of the funds required to build the greenest and most efficient refinery in the world.

We are currently moving ahead with engineering design and environmental work.

We will also build a safe pipeline from Alberta to the refinery, with the active participation of First Nations.  Modern pipelines can be built and operated safely.  Leak data is available for everyone to see on Canadian and U.S. government websites and it proves recently constructed pipelines are not leaking.  Furthermore some of the best pipelining companies in the world are based in Canada.

In addition we will build a fleet of new tankers, powered by LNG rather than Bunker C oil, to transport the refined products to Asia.  This way we know the tankers will be state-of-the-art and as safe as possible.  The fleet will be owned by a company based in B.C. so it cannot shirk its legal liability if there ever is a spill at sea.

Let me be up front about my biases.  I am for creating thousands of good permanent jobs in B.C.  I am for creating billions of new tax dollars for government coffers.  I am for reducing the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. I am for building an oil pipeline that will never leak.  I am for building a modern tanker fleet that carries only refined fuels that float and evaporate if spilled. I am against shipping bitumen in tankers.
If you agree that we should not put bitumen in tankers please contact your local MP and say so.  The
Canadian government makes a decision on Northern Gateway next month.

David Black is chairman and founder of Black Press.

Source- Penticton

April 7, 2014

Lake Asphlat not for Sale

THERE are no plans to sell or privatise Lake Asphalt of Trinidad and Tobago. 

Instead, the existing plant, used for refining raw asphalt, would be upgraded and modernised.
That was the company’s response to concerns raised about the long-term future of Lake Asphalt, and whether there were plans by the Government to privatise the entity. 

Lake Asphalt issued a news release in the daily newspapers, stating the existing plant would be refurbished into a modern-type facility that is in line with world-class standards which would significantly improve output and efficiency.

The product is used as a modifier in bitumen used in paving roads. 

Lake Asphalt stated the company had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Beijing Oriental Yuhong Waterproof Technology Company Ltd for the setting up of a waterproof membranes facility in Trinidad utilising raw asphalt from the lake.

“The MOU would facilitate discussions with Beijing Oriental Yuhong to explore the possibility of establishing a joint-venture arrangement with Lake Asphalt for the location of the plant in La Brea,” the release stated.
The proposed project is currently at the feasibi­lity-study stage and, as such, no firm commitments or contracts have been executed, the company stated.

Lake Asphalt noted the establishment of the new facility would create hundreds of jobs for residents of La Brea. The company stated that the existing asphalt plant used for refining the raw asphalt was de­cades old, “very inefficient and prone to breakdowns”.

The company added the proposed plans to upgrade the plant would not result in the laying-off of workers, but promote development opportunities through training and upgrading of skills.

 By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com
Source- Trinidad Express

April 2, 2014

G E to supply Evaporator for Alberta Bitumen

MEG Energy Corp has selected GE evaporation technology for reusing steam generator water for boiler feed in a bitumen extraction project in Alberta, Canada. 





The Christina Lake project uses both cogeneration and once-through steam generators (OTSGs) to drive the steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) process for the production of bitumen from oil sands. 

GE's evaporators will be used to recycle a significant portion of the steam generator blowdown for Phases 2B and 3A of the project rather than disposing of it by deep well injection. GE will supply fifth generation, fully modularized evaporator systems, which are designed to achieve the lowest possible project costs. 

"We've witnessed industry trends of SAGD projects either installing new systems with OTSG evaporators or retrofitting existing units. As projects in Alberta's oil sands increase, more companies are turning to GE's evaporative technologies to address the critical issue of how to handle produced water," said Bill Heins, general manager, thermal systems--water and process technologies for GE Power & Water 

Source-Desalination.Biz

March 31, 2014

South Portland to Block Alberta Bitumen

South Portland, Maine, could be the first U.S. city to pass a law to block Alberta oilsands crude from getting anywhere near its waterfront.The city of 25,000 people is turning into a test case for local communities that don’t want oilsands bitumen shipped from their ports.

Tom Blake, the former mayor of South Portland, gave CBC News a tour of his city this week where a temporary moratorium has been imposed on any new structures used by oil companies to help load oil from a pipeline on land, to oil tankers in their port for export.

“We have no interest in having the world’s dirtiest oil come through our community," said Blake, who currently sits on city council.

South Portland sits across the bay from Portland, Maine. It’s the third-largest oil port on the U.S. East Coast.It has provided imported oil by pipeline to Canada since 1941, when it was built to help provide a safe source of energy to this country during the Second World War.

The oil moves north from Maine through New Hampshire to Montreal via the Portland Montreal Pipeline, a subsidiary of the Canadian parent company that is owned by three companies involved in the Alberta oilsands: Shell, Suncor and Imperial Oil.

In 2008, the company applied for a permit to reverse the flow of the pipeline to bring Canadian oil to the U.S. east coast.The plan was scrapped because of the recession and there is no current project on the books. But the company president Larry Wilson has been quoted as saying he is looking for every opportunity to revive the plan.

“The current president has stated publicly many times and to me personally that he would love to bring tarsands to South Portland,” said Blake.

So when Canada's National Energy Board approved the reversal of Enbridge's Line 9B to bring oilsands bitumen east to Montreal in early March, many in South Portland figured it was only a matter of time before that oil would be heading south to their port for export.

"They want to use the existing infrastructure because they're not getting their other pipes done as quickly as they want to," said Crystal Gooderich, a spokeswoman for local citizen's group Protect South Portland.
Last fall the group of residents formed a vocal anti-oilsands campaign and narrowly lost a citywide vote on a restrictive new ordinance on all waterfront development.

But it was enough to convince the city to pass a six-month moratorium in November on proposals to build new structures to transfer oil onto marine vessels.

Portland Pipeline's original plan included two 21-metre industrial stacks on the city's scenic waterfront to burn off gas from the piped oil before its transfer to a tanker.
The council may extend the moratorium for a further six months to allow a committee to draft an ordinance for a permanent ban.

Health and safety concerns

For Gooderich and her neighbours, it's a health and safety issue. Local neighbourhoods are dotted with more than 120 oil storage tanks that have sprouted up since the 1940s.And the current Portland Pipeline runs right through backyards and streets lined with trendy Cape Cod style homes.
People worry about air pollution and heavy oil spilling in their scenic bay.

South Portland, Maine Jamie Py
Jamie Py, the executive director of the Maine Energy Marketers Association, sees no reason to block Alberta's oilsands crude from reaching South Portland's waterfront. (CBC News)

"The tarsands product is so difficult to clean up, almost impossible," said Gooderich.
"If we were to have a disaster in Casco Bay, or in our drinking supply in Lake Sebago, it would be something we'd never recover from fully."

The moratorium and the possibility of a precedent-setting local law have sparked a sharp response from the oil industry, which is running a series of pro-oilsands ads in local papers.

The American Petroleum Institute, which represents more than 500 oil and gas companies, called the current moratorium "ill-advised, unnecessary and unsupported."In a letter to the city in December 2013, it warned "the proposed moratorium could cause harm to local, state and national interests."

"The development of oilsands promotes North American energy security and brings substantial economic benefits to the state of Maine." writes API, which predicts this will all end up in court.

Moratorium bad for business

Local businesses say a vocal minority have lost sight of how important the oil industry is the region's economy.

"It’s been an oil port for a long time, said Jamie Py, the executive director of the Maine Energy Marketers Association. "Eighty per cent of the shipping business that comes into the port is related to the oil business."
"It’s not unprecedented that people want to ban things, that happens all the time. On this one all I can say is look at the facts, ladies and gentlemen, let’s look at the facts of what this product is. And I think the facts will show you it's not any more dangerous or any more difficult to handle than traditional crude oil, so why do we have this big issue here?"

South Portland is being closely watched by people on the U.S. West Coast. Local environmental groups in six California communities are also trying to use local laws to prevent oilsands and Bakken crude from coming to their ports by train.

"We don't want to be the pass-through sacrifice zone for crude oil transiting through California and being exported," said Diane Bailey, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defence Council in an interview from San Francisco.

"Right now there is a domestic crude oil export ban, but that's not to say that the Canadian tarsands can't come through California coast ports to be exported, and we've very concerned  that it would be all risk and very little benefit to these communities."

Py thinks that national environmental groups waging a war on the oilsands industry as a whole are using local groups to help fight the battle.

"Canadian people have made a decision that this is an OK thing to do, that this is in their best interest to do so. It’s an energy source that’s huge and we would like to do business with the United States, but there are some folks in the United States who said no, we don’t want to do business with Canada. That’s a cultural problem, it’s an economic and it’s a political problem."

In the meantime, a special committee in South Portland is carefully drafting an ordinance to stop oilsands crude from getting anywhere near an export tanker in the city's bay. There's no doubt this local law would have to stand up to intense international scrutiny.

It's expected to be ready sometime in the fall.

Source -CBC News

March 18, 2014

Transporting Bitumen

Canada’s oil sands bitumen spared from new US crude-by-rail rules

By LYNN DOAN
Bloomberg

Bitumen from Canada’s oil-sands formations is free to ride in older rail cars under an amended set of rules issued by the US that also eased testing for oils that shippers are familiar with handling.

The US Transportation Department clarified requirements for shipping oil by rail issued Feb. 25 after companies were found classifying crudes as less hazardous than they were. The updated order makes clear that the rules apply only to flammable “UN 1267” crudes and that shippers with “sufficient knowledge” of the oils they’re handling will not be required to test for corrosivity.

“So unless the bitumen is categorized as UN 1267, Class III crude oil, the amended EO would not apply,” said Jeannie Shiffer, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Transportation Department. Bitumen diluted with condensate may be classified as a flammable oil and fall under the new rules, she said.

The trade group American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) criticized the original order, saying it left questions unanswered, and warned that the lack of clarity could cause fuel shortages. The revisions are a “judicious response,” AFPM president Charles Drevna said in a statement.

More Shipments

Shippers of bitumen, a thick, tarlike substance found in oil sands, were particularly at risk from the Feb. 25 order. They would no longer have been able to export product in older cars known as AAR-211s, companies including Strobel Starostka Transfer Canada said.

“There are companies that take it out of the ground and call it bitumen or fuel oil from the start, and that would be perfectly legal” under the clarified order, Marvin Trimble, Strobel Starostka’s commercial development director, said by telephone.

Shipments of bitumen by rail to the US are accelerating. More than 200,000 bpd of crude are leaving Western Canada by rail, and Peters & Co., a Calgary-based investment bank, forecast that would reach 500,000 by the end of the year.

The amended order also clarified that only companies “without sufficient knowledge” to classify the oil they’re shipping may be subject to additional tests such as those to detect the level of flammable gases, compounds such as hydrogen sulfide and corrosivity.

“It says that if the shipper is familiar with the material they’re transporting, then those tests are not necessary,” Rich Moskowitz, general counsel for the AFPM, said by telephone from Washington.

The Transportation Department warned of penalties for those who try to reclassify their crude to “circumvent the requirements.” 
 

March 6, 2014

High Pressure Steaming to Clear the Spill

CNRL wants to start high-pressure steaming near active spill site
Canadian Natural Resources, Ltd. provides media access to spills at its Primrose site near the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in northeast Alberta. August 8, 2013.
Canadian Natural Resources, Ltd. provides media access to spills at its Primrose site near the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in northeast Alberta. August 8, 2013.
Vassy Kapelos, Global News
The company whose northern Alberta spills have been oozing bitumen for 10 months nonstop has asked the province to let it start high-pressure steam operations less than a kilometre away from one of the spill areas.

More than a million litres of bitumen have spilled so far from Canadian Natural Resources, Ltd.’s Primrose sites – but it’s hard to tell because that’s lower than what the company said had spilled several months ago. (CNRL says that’s due to “reconciliation” in its numbers; the Alberta Energy Regulator doesn’t collect its own figures)

Either way, that makes this one of Alberta’s top five bitumen spills in 40 years (one other of which was also on CNRL’s Primrose site). And the leaks show no sign of stopping.

Canadian Natural applied last month for permission to start high-pressure steam operations at a Primrose South site. The closest well is about 500 metres away from the one-kilometre exclusion zone the province set up last summer around one of the spill sites.

This would be the same kind of high-pressure cyclical steam stimulation CNRL used where these spills occurred: Inject extremely high-pressure steam into a vertical hole in rock; then suck all the heated bitumen out as the high pressure forces it up through the same hole in the rock.

CNRL says it knows what started the leaks in the first place: It blames old wellbores deep within the rock that should have been capped with cement but allowed bitumen to escape.

“We are confident as to the cause and the step we can take to prevent it happening again,” spokesperson Zoe Addington said in an email.

Others aren’t so sure.
“It’s kind of strange to me they’re sort of approving steaming in the absence of knowing officially what went wrong,” said Keith Stewart, climate and energy campaign coordinator with Greenpeace Canada.
“If they start injecting here it could reheat and cause the other one to keep spilling or it could, depending what’s cracked, it could widen cracks more. It certainly won’t make things better.”

Regulator spokesperson Bob Curran said they’re reviewing the application and there’s no set timeline for how long that will take. “As a general policy,” he said in an email, “we do not discuss specifics of applications that are under review.”

But “if CNRL hasn’t proven they can ensure it won’t happen again and if the regulator doesn’t know it won’t happen again, it should be considered a high-risk application,” said Pembina Institute analyst Erin Flanagan.
When the spills were just a few months old, CNRL said there was no way to stop the seeping bitumen until the pressure pushing it up from underground subsided. It appears it still hasn’t, although it remains unclear how much has actually spilled: In September, CNRL said about 1.2 million litres of bitumen had spilled; this week, it said about 1.77 million, chalking the discrepancy up to reconciled numbers.

The company also said the amount spilling now is almost “imperceptible” – about 1,000 litres a month from all spill sites.

Kevin Timoney doesn’t buy it: The Treeline Ecological Research investigator published a detailed report into these spills, figuring that, if previous volume reports were accurate, the real amount of bitumen spilled so far is probably closer to 2 million litres.

“Both AER and CRNL fail to provide accurate, complete, and timely information to the public,” Timoney’s report reads. “Without independent oversight of reported hydrocarbon release and recovery volumes, the public may never know the true volumes spilled or recovered.”

The spills are expected to come up in CNRL’s conference call with investors following its fourth-quarter earnings announcement Thursday.

CNRL’s application to start high-pressure steaming says it has done a risk assessment on all wellbores within a kilometre of the proposed site, and plans to implement “an enhanced monitoring and reporting protocol” within that area.

Others aren’t so sure wellbores are the answer: The Alberta Energy Regulator would say only that it “continues to make progress is its investigation, and will release its findings once the investigation is complete.”

Environmentalists point out it seems statistically unusual for several wellbores in different locations to suddenly fail at once, and strange for one failed wellbore to cause spills surfacing several kilometers apart.
They say it could be that the steam’s just too high pressure – it’s cracking the caprock, creating fissures in the stone where bitumen can escape.

If that’s the case, it could mean trouble – not just for CNRL’s operations at Primrose, but for anyone extracting bitumen by injecting high-pressure steam into the ground. And the number of in situ operations doing that is slated to grow. What happens if it turns out companies don’t know as much about doing that safely as they thought they did?

The regulator’s investigation into a similar CNRL spill in 2009 suggested problems with rock and pressure, but was ultimately inconclusive as to what caused the large spill.

It’s possible the broader implications of such a finding could be holding the regulator back from suggesting the problem lies in the extraction method itself.

“It would be a very brave bureaucrat in Alberta who said, ‘We have a problem with in situ technology’ because it is the future of tar sands development,” Stewart said. “This is why I think they need to make their reviews public and they need to be reviewed by independent experts.”

With a report from Leslie Young

Source- Globalnews

March 4, 2014

Bitumen Refinery in Canada

WorleyParsons has won a $Can130 million ($A132 million) contract to provide engineering and procurement work for a bitumen refinery project in Canada.

The North West Redwater new bitumen refinery project is in Sturgeon County, northeast of Edmonton, Alberta, close to major crude oil and diluent pipelines in Albert, WorleyParsons said in a statement on Monday.

The work will be performed by WorleyParsons in its Edmonton, Toronto and Mumbai offices, beginning immediately.

WorleyParsons already is involved in other work on the $Can8.5 billion Sturgeon refinery project that will process 50,000 barrels a day of bitumen.

The project is a partnership between North West Upgrading and oil and gas giant Canadian Natural Resources.

Source -thebull.com.au

February 13, 2014

Bitumen Seepage in Alberta

Record Bitumen Seepage in Alberta Continues Unabated
 BitumenSurfaceSeepage_600px.jpg
Example of large fractures in earth that continue to seep bitumen at one of four well sites operated by CNRL at the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. Photo: CNRL, September 2013.
 
Researchers of an independent report on one of the largest ongoing oil releases in Alberta history say the provincial regulator and industry must do more to inform the public about the scale and impact of massive bitumen seepage in the oil sands.
 
For nearly a year now, more than 12,000 barrels of bitumen mixed with water have seeped through several long cracks (some as long as 100 metres) in the forest floor near four wells owned by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL) in the Cold Lake region.
 
To date, the Calgary-based company has spent nearly $40 million in cleanup operations that have involved the removal of 70,000 tonnes of earth. It also pumped 404,378 cubic metres of water out of a small lake to clean up two large bitumen fissures.
 
CNRL says the cause of the extraordinary seepage at its Primrose facility is due to a failed or partially failed wellbore, but other observers suspect that the formation was over-pressurized.
 
The Alberta Energy Regulator said in a November 2013 press release that it has reached no conclusions about the cause and is actively investigating it.
 
But the report argues it's highly unlikely that four wellbores six kilometres apart would fail at the same time, and suggests the company has probably fractured protective caprock overlaying bitumen formations.
 
"Both the Alberta Energy Regulator and CNRL have been slow to provide information and the information provided has been sparse and frequently inaccurate," says Peter Lee of Global Forest Watch Canada, and one of the report's authors. Global Forest Watch Canada is a network of organizations that exists to provide information about development activities in Canada's forests.
 
"CNRL is known to be a media-shy company," adds Kevin Timoney of Treeline Ecological Research, a co-investigator. "The Alberta Energy Regulator, despite its public relations statements, remains a secretive agency. Neither excels at providing timely, accurate and complete information to the public. When the failure to inform is combined with major environmental incidents and a regulator that fails to err on the side of caution, the public interest suffers."
 
Reports on the volume of bitumen released to the surface, for example, do not add up compared to volumes that the company says it has recovered.
 
It took the Alberta Energy Regulator six months to answer queries about accuracy and reliability of its data on the incident from the two Alberta scientists who wrote the report. Both researchers say they've also documented the slow and uneven rate of enforcement of environmental rules in the province.
Given the uncontrollable nature of the bitumen seepage and its impact on groundwater and wetlands, the report also advises that steam injection "operations should be suspended or curtailed until major unknowns are addressed. Over-pressuring of bitumen reservoirs should be prohibited."
 
On a newly refurbished webpage dedicated to the ongoing event, the company promises that it will "modify how we steam and the growth in steam volumes in successive cycles to provide greater certainty that all fluids remain" in the Clearwater, the formation they are steaming.
 
How caprock can crack
The bitumen release has set off alarm bells in the oil sands industry, because half of bitumen production from the mega-project now involves companies injecting highly pressurized steam into the ground to recover deep deposits of tarry bitumen.
 
In the future, 80 per cent of all oil sands production will come from energy-intensive steam injection plants.
 
Although industry has presented this form of production as more environmentally friendly than open pit mining, the cyclic steam injection process used by CNRL at depths of 400 metres can lift ground cover by as much as 36 centimetres (14 inches) over the course of a month. Pumping the melted bitumen out can result in an equal amount of subsidence too.
 
Studies on the phenomenon nearly 20 years ago demonstrated that "it is physically possible to appreciably raise the ground surface by injecting fluids underground."
 
Since 2001, satellite imagery has been used by industry to monitor the progress of steam injection and detect ground deformation. The imagery can also help industry determine "whether linear features exist at the surface that may indicate the presence of weaknesses in the subsurface, such as fractures or even faults."
 
Secret federal briefing notes obtained by Postmedia reporter Jason Fekete last month show that the government knew about satellite data that showed ground level deformation in the area from 2009 to 2013.
 
Fekete reported that the satellite data showed that "the values of ground deformation (both subsidence and uplift) at the CNRL operation were often in the range of 10 to 30 centimetres over various sampled 24-day periods." Such data indicates that CNRL may have injected too much steam into the formation.
Many scientists now fear that continuous lifting and dropping of the earth combined with the force of injection near local faults and abandoned wells could fracture holes in the caprock, leading to extensive groundwater pollution and surface bitumen leaks.
 
Still cracks in the research
The Alberta Energy Regulator has had a team studying the critical problem of caprock integrity since 2009, but has yet to issue any reports or an incidence database as promised on its website.
 
The incidents are well-known. One event took place at Total's Joslyn steam plant project in 2006. After the company injected the formation (the cause is still the subject of debate), steam exploded to the surface and created a 300-metre crater in the forest. It took the regulator four years to report on the event.
 
Similarly, a major release by CNRL at the same project now seeping uncontrollably occurred in 2009 and contaminated groundwater. The regulator did not report on that event until 2013, four years later.
 
Causation of both events remains unresolved.
 
"The regulator's inability to determine the causes of previous caprock failures while allowing high pressure cyclic steam operations to continue in the absence of improved safeguards has imposed unquantified risks to bitumen resources, groundwater and adjacent ecosystems," adds the independent report.
 
Industry is keenly aware of the risks that highly pressurized steam injection now poses in the region. One operation that steamed formations at depths of 480 to 500 metres below the surface had "experienced steam breakthrough" to the surface. As a consequence, "the operators decided to implement a microseismic monitoring system to further observe the steam pathway from the reservoir to the surface in order to avoid any further breakthroughs to the surface," reports ESG Solutions, a company that pioneered technology to help industry measure small earthquakes caused by energy and mining projects.
 
A better monitoring program helped the company avoid more engineering mistakes, such as injecting too much steam pressures that might "induce fractures in a caprock layer or reactivate existing faults or fractures, causing communication with a sensitive layer (i.e. an aquifer) or in the case of shallow operations, the surface."
 
Scientists have also known for years that the uplifting can shear off wellbores in the region. One 2001 study by University of Waterloo researcher Maurice Dusseault reported the failure of 250 wells in the Cold Lake region due to the steam induced expansion and contraction of bitumen deposits.
 
Noted the Dusseault paper: "Downhole integrity loss often can be repaired, but uphole shear failures at Cold Lake are serious events that could result in the release of fluids to the surface. These cannot be repaired, and the wells must be abandoned. Multiple uphole casing failures have caused the abandonment of an entire pad of wells resulting from destabilization of the shale zone where shear is concentrated."
 
No-steam-injection order issued
To date, it is not known how much bitumen has seeped underground into groundwater or other formations or when it will stop seeping through fissures in the ground.
 
The Alberta Energy Regulator has imposed a no-steam-injection order for the entire Primrose East area.
 
The report concludes that "expansion of in situ methods of bitumen exploitation across Alberta is outpacing the increase in knowledge of the potential below-ground and surface impacts of these methods. By the time the effects of these methods are sufficiently understood, it may be too late to remediate."
Moreover, continued use of cyclic steam injection "may result in large and unpredictable costs, and those costs will not be borne by the energy companies but by future generations of Canadians."
 
23 different groups asked for a public review of safety regulations for steam plant operations last August.
 
The Alberta Energy Regulator denied the request, saying that "[cyclic steam stimulation] and high pressure cyclic steam stimulation have been successfully used as bitumen recovery techniques in Alberta for many years" and that a public inquiry would "not provide any new information that may be able to support or guide regulatory change."
 
The Alberta Energy Regulator is 100 per cent funded by industry. 
 
Source-Reslience

December 24, 2013

Kazakhstan Launches Bitumen Plant


Kazakhstan has commissioned a new plant for production of road bitumen at Aktau Plastics Plant (Aktau bitumen plant) that was constructed by a group of companies KazMunaiGas.

The company reported that Governor of Mangistau region Alik Aidarbayev, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary ambassador of China Le Yucheng, representatives of the Ministry of Oil and Gas of Kazakhstan and KazMunaiGas JSC, the management of CITIC Group company, Caspi Bitum JV LLP and other partner companies participated at the event.


"Our plant can almost completely cover the needs of the country in bitumen. This is a joint project of the KazMunaiGas National Company and the Chinese company CITIC Group," Chairman of the Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries JSC Dauletkerey Ergaliev said.

The plant will produce about 400,000 tons of oxidized and 120,000 tons of modified road bitumen, as well as 15,000 tons of gasoline fraction and 230,000 tons of kerosene and diesel fraction, 220,000 tons of vacuum gas oil.

To avoid the loss of quality of bitumen while transporting it to the asphalt paving place, Aktau bitumen plant provides innovative technology for packing bitumen into a disposable shipping container of two types - Big Bag (1000 kilograms) and plastic bags (40 kilograms).

The use of packed cold bitumen will not only keep the original physicochemical characteristics of the material, but also get savings in asphalt plants by reducing the costs of keeping the molten bitumen in large bitumen storages.
Source- AZERNews