The President of Penn West Petroleum believes that industry can increase light oil recovery from the Cardium formation in central Alberta by between 1.1 and 2.6 bbbl. Alberta is developing a gas strategy focusing on expanded domestic uses for the fuel, including the potential use of natural gas vehicles. Sasol Limited has partnered with Talisman to research converting Western Canadian gases to fuels to enable more widespread use. It is expected that a 48,000 bpd gas‐to‐liquids plans would create 7,000 temporary construction jobs and nearly 500 permanent positions.
Laricina Energy has made progress in demonstrating that thermal extraction of bitumen from the Grosmont carbonate formation is commercially possible. The pilot has used SAGD well pairs with steam cycles in both the injector and producer wellbores. This pilot program is being closely watched because no one has managed commercial bitumen production from Alberta’s carbonate formations, which are estimated to hold more oil that the oilsands. The results support that there could be a 10,700 bpd expansion with cyclic steam stimulation. Laricina is evaluating incorporating this into its regulatory application.
Operators of Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS) wells are required by ERCB to run periodic casing integrity tests. These tests costs about $50,000, mainly because the process requires that a day’s production time be lost. Dale Kunz, an engineer, believes he has come up with a solution to the integrity test that eliminates the use of an inflatable packer used in the test for an annular eutectic salt plug. Once the test is done, nitrogen would be inserted dissolving the plug and allowing production to start back up again in 5‐6 hours. The installation of such a system would cost approximately $80,000; however, once the tests are complete, the cost is a low $4000, which over time can lead to significant savings as a result of the wells being brought back into production sooner.