Suncor Energy Plans to Use Radio Frequency Technology in Canadian Oil Sands
Suncor Energy (TSE:SU), along with its partners in the project, today announced the first radio frequency (RF) pilot for oil recovery within an in-situ reservoir. The technology, Enhanced Solvent Extraction Incorporating Electromagnetic Heating (ESEIEH, pronounced “easy”), uses radio frequency to heat the reservoir and adds a solvent which facilitates the movement of the bitumen to the surface.
The ESEIEH project partners are Devon, Nexen Energy ULC, Suncor, Harris Corporation, with funding in part from the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC). The technology will be tested at Suncor’s Dover test site, north of Fort McMurray, Alta.
“The ESEIEH technology, if successful and commercially viable, has the potential to improve economic and environmental performance in the oil sands by eliminating the need for water at in situ operations, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing our environmental footprint,” says Gary Bunio, general manager of oil sands strategic technology, Suncor.
“The partners are working together on a new technology that has the potential for significant economic and environmental advantages over traditional extraction processes,” says Brian Blakey, vice president and general manager of energy solutions, Harris. “The new technology benefits from Harris’ leadership in radio frequency science and engineering.”
The group has been collaborating on this technology since 2011 with initial physical testing of the technology in 2012 at Suncor’s Steepbank mine facility. Testing will now begin at an in situ reservoir for approximately 24 months.
Suncor Energy is one of Canada’s largest integrated energy company. Suncor’s operations include oil sands development and upgrading, conventional and offshore oil and gas production, petroleum refining, and product marketing under the Petro-Canada brand.