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New Connacher SAGD plant producing bitumen


June 23, 2010
by PLANT STAFF

Connacher’s Algar facility, its second 10,000 bbl/d steam-assisted gravity drainage plant.

Photo: Connacher Oil and Gas

CALGARY: Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd.’s Algar steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) plant has sent its first load of diluted bitumen (dilbit) to market.

A ribbon cutting ceremony on June 22 marked the official opening of the energy company’s second 10,000 bbl/d SAGD plant at its Great Divide oil sands complex in northeastern Alberta.

The $370-million plant, completed in 273 days, is designed for additional brownfield expansion to 34,000 bbl/d of production and more than 100,000 bbl/d of steam generating capacity. Such an expansion will require an additional $600-million capital investment.

The company said regulatory approvals are expected in late 2011 and a further 24,000 bbl/d expansion is being considered for a 2013 start-up.

To keep costs under control, the company intends to introduce technical innovations such as the use of high temperature electrical submersible pumps, natural gas co-injection and SAGD, and the use of solvents with steam.

Connacher, a Calgary-based producer of crude oil, natural gas and bitumen, has also constructed three well pads with 17 horizontal SAGD well pairs. Fourteen pairs are undergoing steam circulation, which will heat up the McMurray reservoir before actual steam injection.

The company says full steam injection and bitumen production will be underway by August and forecasts bitumen production at Algar will approach 7,000 bbl/d by the end of the year.

The plant is designed to recycle more than 90% of the water used in the boilers to make steam. Connacher says its water source is from the subsurface and is non-potable.

A cogeneration plant will be constructed to provide power and supplemental steam. Surplus power will be sold into the regional grid.
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