Saturday, June 30, 2007

Polymer "Greens" Oil Sands

If it isn't global warming then it is certainly the oilsands use of potable water that has enviromentalists in an uproar. The industry consumes 2–4 barrels of water for every barrel of oil it produces, if oil sands production triples to 3 million bbl/day by 2015, as predicted, the industry would require 15 cubic meters of water per second.

“The Government of Alberta is very interested in making sure our resources are extracted in a fashion that’s environmentally friendly and has long-term potential to enhance recovery,” says Alberta Energy spokesman Tim Markle.

A polymer which increases waters viscosity is hoped to be one of many solutions.
This polymer is a solid, imported from the United States and blended at the site. It thickens water to a jelly like syrup that reduces the difference in viscosity between water and oil, improving H2O's ability to displace oil when producing wells.

“We’re using polymer to create elasticity in the fluid,.... If you think of pushing molasses with water, water will break through molasses. On the other hand, molasses will push water like a piston. If the two were a more similar viscosity, the push would be smoother."
“We believe we’re going to get very good recovery factors. Every per cent counts....”

Canadian Natural Resources Limited exploitation manager Rob Richardson
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