November 3, 2014
Canada through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and the Government of Alberta through the Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund (CCEMC), its pilot project of Bitumen Extraction Solvent Technology (BEST) near Fort McMurray has reached a milestone of 25,000 barrels of oil production since its start-up in spring 2014. The patented technology in the BEST process is a water-free technology and produces 80-85 percent lower Green House Gas (GHG) emissions during extraction.
N-Solv Corporation (N-Solv) is pleased to announce that, with funding from the Government of
"Our Government's investments are supporting Canadian skilled jobs and improving environmental outcomes," said the Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources. "This technology serves as one example of how government and industry are further enhancing responsible development of Canada's abundant energy resources."
"The pilot project clearly demonstrates that the science works. Reaching 25,000 barrels of production is on its own a major step in validating the technology, but we have also achieved that without any significant interruptions along the way, which speaks to the robustness of the process," said Dr. John Nenniger, N-Solv's CEO. "N-Solv has been fielding requests for scaled-up projects; we are reviewing them on a reservoir by reservoir basis."
"N-Solv's technology is proving to be of significant potential," said Murray Smith, N-Solv Vice-President of Business Development and former Alberta Energy Minister.
The N-Solv Bitumen Extraction Solvent Technology process utilizes the proven horizontal well technology developed for steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), but differs in that it does not use any water. Instead, N-Solv uses warm propane or butane, which is injected as a vapor and condenses underground, washing the valuable compounds out of the bitumen.
In addition to the environmental significance of N-Solv's technology, it has lower operating and capital costs than other oilsands extraction techniques, and it produces lighter, more valuable oil through its solvent-based recovery process.
Alberta's oilsands contain over 170 billion barrels of recoverable oil, the third largest crude oil resource in the world. Eighty percent of that oil is too deep in the ground to be mined and so it is produced using in situ processes. Applicable to many in situ reservoirs, N-Solv's technology can also be particularly effective in thin bitumen zones and shallow reservoir environments.
Calgary-based, privately held N-Solv Corporation was founded a decade ago to develop new technologies that produce cleaner and more sustainable energy from the oilsands. The company holds a significant intellectual property related to the technology and has received grant support from the Canadian and Alberta governments through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC). N-Solv Corporation is making access to its technology available to the industry through numerous business models, including various forms of licensing as well as partnerships in projects.
"We are so proud of N-Solv for achieving this significant milestone and for helping to revolutionize oil extraction technologies," said Jane Pagel, interim CEO of SDTC, "It is technologies like these that help to create jobs, revenue, economic growth and export opportunities for Canada. This company is a true testament to the cleantech sector and SDTC is excited to see where N-Solv goes next."
The CCEMC focuses on stimulating transformative change by funding projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help Alberta adapt to climate change. Funding for the CCEMC is sourced from Alberta's large industrial emitters. In Alberta, large emitters have a mandatory legislated requirement to achieve specified reductions of greenhouse gases. If they're unable to reach their target, one option is to pay a levy of $15 per tonne into the Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund. The fund is administered by the Government of Alberta and the CCEMC receives grants from the fund to support its work.
Funded by the Government of Canada, Sustainable Development Technology Canada helps move Canadian clean technologies forward, readying them for growth and export markets. With a portfolio of companies under management valued at more than $2 billion, SDTC is demonstrating that cleantech is a driver of jobs, productivity and economic prosperity.