Bitumen producer using GE evaporation technology

GE’s produced-water evaporation technology has been chosen for Phase 1 of the Algar Lake Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) project near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, which will produce 5,000-6,000 barrels/d of bitumen.

Grizzly Oil Sands ULC is using GE’s evaporation process to recycle up to 97% of the produced water, GE announced on 20 September 2011. This is one of three recent projects, including Harvest Black Gold, to choose GE’s patented technology to treat and recycle its SAGD wastewater.

Coupled with GE’s proprietary contaminant-reduction system, the technology can produce a high-quality distillate suitable for use as feedwater to high-pressure drum boilers. This assists the producer to minimize water consumption and comply with the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) regulations and directives pertaining to water use. 

“Our selection of GE technology is the result of their experience and application of the technology in the oil sands,” said Ryan Chase, director of projects at Grizzly Oil Sands. “The team at GE has supported our Advanced, Relocatable, Modularized, Standardized (ARMS) design.”

Until recently, SAGD produced water could not be recycled as boiler feedwater because conventional treatment technologies were unable to produce the necessary water quality. GE claims that its process and contaminant-reduction system is the only commercially proven method currently in use that achieves complete water recycling. It considerably reduces freshwater requirements and also offers lower total capital and operating costs.

In addition to GE’s produced water evaporation system, GE also is providing the Algar Lake SAGD project with system design, equipment, instruments and controls, training and site support. GE will deliver equipment to the site in the first half of 2012, with installation and commissioning scheduled for the second half of 2012. 

Grizzly Oil Sands was formed in early 2006 to explore for and bring bitumen into production using thermal technologies. Grizzly holds one of the largest oil-sand lease positions in Alberta among independent development-stage oil-sands companies with more than 700,000 net acres (160,000 ha) of oil-sands leases and permits.