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Sample records for alberta oil sands

  1. Alberta oil sands royalty regime

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The long term objective of the Oil Sands Business Unit of Alberta Energy is to pave the way for Alberta's bitumen production to reach 3 million barrels per day by 2020. This presentation described the national government's role in resource development. It was emphasized that since the Crown is the owner of the oil sands resource, it would benefit by providing strategic leadership and by generating a larger royalty base. The oil sands fiscal regime was described with reference to generic royalty, risk sharing, investment, and project economics. Business rule principles were also outlined along with criteria for project expansions. Both upstream and downstream challenges and opportunities were listed. 4 figs

  2. Alberta oil sands crudes : upgrading and marketing

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ashar, M. [Suncor Energy, Fort McMurray, AB (Canada)

    2008-05-15

    Open pit mining and in situ techniques, such as steam stimulation, are used to recover Alberta's bitumen and heavy oil resources, which have higher viscosities than conventional hydrocarbons. The bitumen is typically upgraded to synthetic crude oil (SCO). In the simplest processing scheme, the bitumen is blended with diluent for ease in pipeline transport and then processed at refineries with upgrading facilities. The bitumen is also upgraded to light SCO at world-scale upgraders in Alberta. The SCO is then processed at refineries in downstream markets. The 2 categories of upgrading, notably primary and secondary upgrading, were described in this article along with technology options for both categories. Slurry hydrocracking is regarded as the most interesting emerging residual fuel upgrading technology. It combines special catalyst mixes with the latest slurry reactor designs as well as innovative catalyst capture and recycle schemes to produce very high conversions and potentially superior upgrading economics. The increase in volume and rate of SCO from Alberta provides refiners in the oil sands marketing sector an unprecedented choice of opportunities to improve profitability. Key trends indicate that production will increase substantially from 2008 to 2030. 5 figs.

  3. Alberta oil sands crudes : upgrading and marketing

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Open pit mining and in situ techniques, such as steam stimulation, are used to recover Alberta's bitumen and heavy oil resources, which have higher viscosities than conventional hydrocarbons. The bitumen is typically upgraded to synthetic crude oil (SCO). In the simplest processing scheme, the bitumen is blended with diluent for ease in pipeline transport and then processed at refineries with upgrading facilities. The bitumen is also upgraded to light SCO at world-scale upgraders in Alberta. The SCO is then processed at refineries in downstream markets. The 2 categories of upgrading, notably primary and secondary upgrading, were described in this article along with technology options for both categories. Slurry hydrocracking is regarded as the most interesting emerging residual fuel upgrading technology. It combines special catalyst mixes with the latest slurry reactor designs as well as innovative catalyst capture and recycle schemes to produce very high conversions and potentially superior upgrading economics. The increase in volume and rate of SCO from Alberta provides refiners in the oil sands marketing sector an unprecedented choice of opportunities to improve profitability. Key trends indicate that production will increase substantially from 2008 to 2030. 5 figs

  4. Economic impacts of Alberta's oil sands, volume 1

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    In 2004, the international media recognized Alberta's oil sands as part of the global oil reserves, thereby establishing Canada as second to Saudi Arabia as potential oil producing nations. The economic impacts of Alberta's oil sands industry on economies were assessed at regional, provincial and international levels for the 2000 to 2020 period. A customized input-output model was used to assess economic impacts, which were measured in terms of changes in gross domestic product; employment and labour income; and, government revenues. Cumulative impacts on employment by sector and by jurisdiction were also presented. An investment of $100 billion is expected through 2020, resulting in production of crude bitumen and synthetic crude oil outputs valued at about $531 billion. The impact of the oil sands industry on local employment was also evaluated. It was shown that activities in the oil sands industry will lead to significant economic impact in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and the rest of Canada. Alberta's local economy would be the main beneficiary of oil sands activities with nearly 3.6 million person years employment created in Alberta during the 2000 to 2020. Another 3 million person years employment would be created in other Canadian provinces and outside Canada during the same time period. A sensitivity analysis on the responsiveness to oil prices and the removal of various constraints incorporated in the main analysis was also presented. The federal government will be the largest recipient of revenues generated to to oil sands activities. The results of the study were compared with that of the National Task Force on Oil Sands Strategies. This first volume revealed the results of the study while the second volume includes the data and detailed results. 48 refs., 57 tabs., 28 figs

  5. Sustainable water management in Alberta's oil sands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Byers, Bill; Usher, Robyn; Roach, Andrea [CH2M HILL, Englewood, CO (United States); Lambert, Gord; Kotecha, Prit [Suncor Energy Inc., Calgary (Canada)

    2012-07-01

    The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers forecast published in 2011 predicts that oil production from oil sands will increase by 50% in the next 3 years and double by 2020. This rate of growth will result in significant pressure on water resources; water use per barrel of oil sands production is comparable to other energy resources - about 2.5 barrels of fresh water per barrel of oil produced are used by mining operations and 0.5 barrels by in-situ operations. Suncor Energy Inc. (Suncor) was the first company to develop the oil sands in northern Alberta and holds one of the largest oil sands positions in Canada. In 2010, Suncor announced plans to increase production to more than 1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2020, which it plans to achieve through oil sands production growth of approximately 10% per year. Because water supply and potential impacts to water quality are critical to its future growth, in 2010-2011 Suncor conducted a risk assessment to identify water-related business risks related to its northern Alberta operations. The assessment identified more than 20 high level business risks in strategic water risk areas including water supply, water reuse, storm water management, groundwater, waste management and river water return. The risk assessment results prompted development of a strategic roadmap to guide water stewardship across Suncor's regional operations. The roadmap describes goals, objectives, and specific activities for each of six key water risk areas, and informs prioritization and selection of prospective water management activities. Suncor is not only exploring water within its own boundaries, but is also collaborating with other oil sands producers to explore ways of integrating its water systems through industry consortia; Suncor is a member of the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative and of the recently formed Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, among others. (author)

  6. Alberta Oil Sands Equity annual report, 1992-93. Partnership and progress in Alberta's oil sands development

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Alberta Oil Sands Equity (AOSE) manages the Alberta government's equity investments in oil sands and heavy oil projects. AOSE is a 16.74% participant in the Syncrude Project, a 10% participant in the OSLO (Other Six Leases Operation) Commercial Project and the OSLO New Ventures project, and a 24.17% participant in the Lloydminster Bi-Provincial Upgrader. Syncrude produces ca 12% of Canadian crude oil requirements, and AOSE's share yielded $44 million profit for 1992/93, slightly higher than the the $43.3 million the previous year. The OSLO Commercial Project is a proposed commercial oil sands plant with a mine site and extraction plant to be located north of Fort McMurray, and an upgrading facility to be situated north of Edmonton. Work on this project was suspended in early 1992. The OSLO New Ventures project will handle the exploration and development of the remaining five oil sands leases plus the southern portion of Lease 31. As of March 31, 1993, the project owners were considering a commercial demonstration project utilizing dredging and cold-water extraction processes. Two of the owners are unable to provide funding and discussions are under way to resolve the matter and move the program forward. The Lloydminster Bi-Provincial Upgrader opened Noveber 20, 1992, and production has reached 41,000 bbl/d, or 89% of design capacity. The upgrader will increase the value of heavy crude oil and thereby increase its demand. 5 figs., 3 tabs

  7. Opportunities for CANDU for the Alberta oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Alberta oil sands bitumen deposits comprise of one of the largest sources hydrocarbon in the world, and have emerged as the fastest growing, soon to be dominant, source of crude oil in Canada. The oil industry has made great strides in improving the effectiveness of gathering this resource. In particular, alternatives to open-pit mining have been developed which enable in-site recovery of underground deposits with a minimum of environmental disruption. The main challenge that remains is the large quantity of energy needed in the process of extracting the oil and upgrading it to commercial levels. For a typical in-situ extraction project, about 18% of the energy content of the oil produced is used up in the extraction process, while a further 5% is used in generating hydrogen to upgrade the bitumen to synthetic crude oil. Looking ahead, even as improvements in energy use efficiency, (and hydrocarbon use efficiency) counterbalance the increases in hydrocarbon demand from economic growth (particularly in the developing world), Canada and Alberta recognize that the oil sands resource will be needed, and both support the development of this resource in an environmentally responsible way. The large energy requirement for the oil sands extraction process represents a challenge with regard to both environmental impact and security of supply. The use of natural gas, the current energy supply, has impacts in terms of air quality (via NOX and other emissions) and also represents a large greenhouse gas emissions component. As the oil sands industry expands, the availability of natural gas also becomes a concern, as does price and price stability. With this background, the opportunity for nuclear reactors to provide an economical, reliable, virtually zero-emission source of energy for the oil sands becomes very important. Over the last few years, developments in oil sands extraction technology, and developments in CANDU technology through the Advanced CANDU Reactor, (ACR

  8. Cleaning oil sands drilling waste in Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mikic, N.; Nilsen, C.; Markabi, M. [Mi SWACO, Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2008-07-01

    The waste generated from steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) wells is brought to the surface and separated by shale shakers. The waste can include drilling fluids and sand contaminated with bitumen. This paper described a new technology developed to treat waste using the addition of hot water and various mixing and separation technologies to reduce the viscosity of the bitumen and separate it from the sand. The bitumen-contaminated drill cuttings were mixed with hot water to form a slurry that was then separated through the G-force created by a hydrocyclone. A secondary separation was then conducted in an elutriation column to remove residual contaminants from the sand. The flow rate of the process was controlled by the fine solids composition of the cuttings, the temperature of the cleaning process, and the performance of the individual components. Laboratory tests conducted to tests the method showed that the sand particles produced using the method were clean enough to be safely disposed in the environment. A pilot study will be conducted to test the sand cleaning technology at a commercial scale. 6 refs., 3 figs.

  9. Preliminary fingerprinting analysis of Alberta oil sands and related petroleum products

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This paper reported on a study that presented a preliminary quantitative chemical characterization of Alberta oil sands and many other related Alberta oils such as oil sand bitumen, Cold Lake bitumen, Albian heavy synthetic crude, and Alberta Mixed sweet blend. The rapid increase in production of the Alberta oil sands has resulted in unprecedented environmental concern. The mining, extraction and production of oil sands such resulted in huge consumption of water resources, huge emission of greenhouse gas and large number of tailings ponds. In addition, accidental spills in the transportation and usage of oil sands will potentially cause considerable impact on the environment. It is therefore essential to have the ability to characterize Alberta oil sands and their oil products. The specific chemical properties of the oil sands bitumen must be known. Therefore, this study collected quantitative data on the concentration and distribution profiles of target compounds in Alberta oil sands and its petroleum products. The chemical fingerprints of 5 Alberta oil sands and their related petroleum products were studied using gas chromatography/flame ionization detection (GC/FID) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The characterized hydrocarbons were n-alkanes; target alkylated PAHs and other EPA priority PAHs; biomarker terpanes and steranes; and bicyclic sesquiterpanes. The information acquired during this study will provide the basis for oil-oil correlation and differentiation in future environmental applications relevant to oil sands. 24 refs., 6 tabs., 4 figs.

  10. Alberta's economic development of the Athabasca oil sands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steinmann, Michael

    This dissertation examines the 61-year evolution of public policies pertaining to development of Alberta's non-conventional source of crude oil. The Athabasca oil sands contain an estimated 1.5 trillion barrels and provide for a safe continental supply. The Provincial Government first sponsored this undertaking in 1943. The period from then to 1971 was one of a transition from a wheat economy to a natural-resource economic base. A stable government emerged and was able to negotiate viable development policies. A second period, 1971 to 1986, was marked by unstable world conditions that afforded the Alberta government the ability to set terms of development with multi-national oil firms. A 50% profit-sharing plan was implemented, and basic 1973 terms lasted until 1996. However, 1986 was a critical year because the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reduced prices, causing the Alberta economy to lapse into recession. During a third period, 1986 to 1996, the Alberta Government was unable to adapt quickly to world conditions. A new leadership structure in 1996 made major changes to create ongoing fiscal and development policies. That history provides answers to two primary research questions: How do public policies affect the behaviors of the modern corporation and visa versa? What are the implications for development theory? Two sources of information were used for this study. First, it was possible to review the Premier's files located in the Provincial Archives. Materials from various government libraries were also examined. Some 7,000 documents were used to show the evolution of government policymaking. Second, interviews with leaders of oil companies and federal research facilities were important. Findings support the thesis that, to facilitate oil sands development, government and the private sector have closely collaborated. In particular, revenue policies have allowed for effective R&D organization. Relying on intensive technological

  11. Alberta Oil Sands Equity annual report, 1991-92. Partnership and progress in Alberta's oil sands development

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Alberta Oil Sands Equity (AOSE) manages the Alberta government's equity investments in oil sands and heavy oil projects. AOSE is a 16.74% participant in the Syncrude Project, a 10% participant in the OSLO (Other Six Leases Operation) Commercial Project and the OSLO New Ventures project, and a 24.17% participant in the Lloydminster Bi-Provincial Upgrader. Syncrude produces over 11% of Canadian crude oil requirements, and AOSE's share yielded $43.3 million profit for 1991/92, down significantly from the $82.1 million the previous year due to lower oil prices. The OSLO Commercial Project is a proposed commercial oil sands plant with a mine site and extraction plant to be located north of Fort McMurray, and an upgrading facility to be situated north of Edmonton. Work on this project was suspended in early 1992. The OSLO New Ventures project will handle the exploration and development of the remaining five oil sands leases plus the southern portion of Lease 31. As of March 31, 1992, the project owners were considering a commercial demonstration project utilizing dredging and cold-water extraction processes. Two of the owners are unable to provide funding and discussions are under way to resolve the matter and move the program forward. The Lloydminster Bi-Provincial Upgrader was nearly 90% complete in March 1992 and full startup is expected in November 1992; engineering work was completed in March 1991. The upgrader will increase the value of heavy crude oil and thereby increase its demand. 4 figs., 4 tabs

  12. Threshold Considerations and Wetland Reclamation in Alberta's Mineable Oil Sands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lee Foote

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Oil sand extraction in Alberta, Canada is a multibillion dollar industry operating over 143 km² of open pit mining and 4600 km² of other bitumen strata in northern boreal forests. Oil production contributes to Canada-wide GDP, creates socio-cultural problems, provides energy exports and employment, and carries environmental risks regarding long-term reclamation uncertainties. Of particular concern are the implications for wetlands and water supply management. Mining of oil sands is very attractive because proven reserves of known quality occur in an accessible, politically stable environment with existing infrastructure and an estimated 5.5 billion extractable barrels to be mined over the next five decades. Extraction occurs under a set of limiting factors or thresholds including: limited social tolerance at local to international levels for externalities of oil sand production; water demands > availability; limited natural gas supplies for oil processing leading to proposals for hydroelectric dams and nuclear reactors to be constructed; difficulties in reclaiming sufficient habitat area to replace those lost. Replacement of the 85 km² of peat-forming wetlands forecast to be destroyed appears unlikely. Over 840 billion liters of toxic fluid byproducts are currently held in 170 km² of open reservoirs without any known process to purify this water in meaningful time frames even as some of it leaches into adjacent lands and rivers. Costs for wetland reclamation are high with estimates of $4 to $13 billion, or about 6% of the net profits generated from mining those sites. This raises a social equity question of how much reclamation is appropriate. Time frames for economic, political, and ecological actions are not well aligned. Local people on or near mine sites have had to change their area use for decades and have been affected by industrial development. Examining mining effects to estimate thresholds of biophysical realities, time scales

  13. Responsible Actions : a plan for Alberta's oil sands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2009-02-15

    The energy sector has played an essential role in Alberta's economy and in improving the living standards of Albertans. This document built on the vision outlined in Alberta's provincial energy strategy and provided specific long-term provincial policy direction for Alberta's 3 oil sands regions and its industrial centre. The purpose of the report was to provide a platform to balance development with environmental protection, social responsibility, and economic success and to outline a strategic approach to responsible development of the oil sands resource. The report presented a vision for the future of the oil sands and discussed the guiding principles. Outcomes, strengths, challenges, opportunities, strategies, and the context for Alberta's oil sands was also presented. Six strategies were discussed from vision to action. Key success factors were also outlined and next steps were suggested. Several appendices were also included, such as provincial and regional implementation; priority actions; and related Government of Alberta strategies and initiatives. It was concluded that forward-looking and adaptive regulatory structures and processes are essential to support responsible development of the oil sands. refs., figs., appendices.

  14. Greener Social Constructions: Marie Lake, Fort Chipewyan, and the Alberta Oil Sands

    OpenAIRE

    Brodie, Scott

    2014-01-01

    There is considerable debate in the green criminological and environmental sociological literature regarding achieving environmental reform. This dissertation contributes to the discussion through a qualitative constructivist interpretation of regional/national news media depictions of two environmental/industrial controversies. The embroiled controversies pit concerned social actors from the Alberta communities of Marie Lake and Fort Chipewyan against Canadian oil sands proponents. Using gro...

  15. Evaluation of evaporation in dewatering oil sands tailings in Northern Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Song, Qing; O' Kane, Mike [O' Kane Consultants Inc (Canada); Dhadli, Nav; Matthews, Jonathan [Shell Canada Energy (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    This paper deals with the oil sands mining industry in northern Alberta. The industry is presently addressing recent changes to Alberta government regulations on fine tailings. Shell Canada Ltd. has carried out evaluations of evaporation from fine tailings as a component of the dewatering and strength development processes. The oil sands industry as a whole is trying to develop methodologies for management of fine tailings on a commercial basis. These methodologies aim at developing the potential of evaporation as a tailings dewatering technique. Moreover, Shell is evaluating several technologies for dewatering tailings produced as mature fine tailings (MFT), non-segregated tailings (NST) and thickened tailings (TT) and this document presents field measurements of TT settlement in addition to consolidation in Cell 4 and numerical modeling results with CONDESO. It is noteworthy that evaporative dewatering on tailings consolidation is evaluated on the basis of a 100-year climate time-frame.

  16. Evaluating the oil sands reclamation process: Assessing policy capacity and stakeholder access for government and non-governmental organizations operating in Alberta's oil sands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patterson, Tyler

    By employing interpretive policy analysis this thesis aims to assess, measure, and explain policy capacity for government and non-government organizations involved in reclaiming Alberta's oil sands. Using this type of analysis to assess policy capacity is a novel approach for understanding reclamation policy; and therefore, this research will provide a unique contribution to the literature surrounding reclamation policy. The oil sands region in northeast Alberta, Canada is an area of interest for a few reasons; primarily because of the vast reserves of bitumen and the environmental cost associated with developing this resource. An increase in global oil demand has established incentive for industry to seek out and develop new reserves. Alberta's oil sands are one of the largest remaining reserves in the world, and there is significant interest in increasing production in this region. Furthermore, tensions in several oil exporting nations in the Middle East remain unresolved, and this has garnered additional support for a supply side solution to North American oil demands. This solution relies upon the development of reserves in both the United States and Canada. These compounding factors have contributed to the increased development in the oil sands of northeastern Alberta. Essentially, a rapid expansion of oil sands operations is ongoing, and is the source of significant disturbance across the region. This disturbance, and the promises of reclamation, is a source of contentious debates amongst stakeholders and continues to be highly visible in the media. If oil sands operations are to retain their social license to operate, it is critical that reclamation efforts be effective. One concern non-governmental organizations (NGOs) expressed criticizes the current monitoring and enforcement of regulatory programs in the oil sands. Alberta's NGOs have suggested the data made available to them originates from industrial sources, and is generally unchecked by government

  17. Historical trends in greenhouse gas emissions of the Alberta oil sands (1970-2010)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Englander, Jacob G.; Bharadwaj, Sharad; Brandt, Adam R.

    2013-12-01

    There has been increased scrutiny of the Alberta oil sands due to their high carbon intensity (CI) relative to conventional crude oil. Relying entirely on public and peer-reviewed data sources, we examine historical trends in the CI of oil sands extraction, upgrading, and refining. Monthly data were collected and interpolated from 1970 to 2010 (inclusive) for each oil sands project. Results show a reduction in oil sands CI over time, with industry-average full-fuel cycle (well-to-wheels, WTW) CI declining from 165 gCO2e MJ-1 higher heating value (HHV) of reformulated gasoline (RFG) to 105 (-12, +9) gCO2e MJ-1 HHV RFG. 2010 averages by production pathways are 102 gCO2e MJ-1 for Mining and 111 gCO2e MJ-1 for in situ. The CI of mining-based projects has declined due to upgrader efficiency improvements and a shift away from coke to natural gas as a process fuel. In situ projects have benefitted from substantial reductions in fugitive emissions from bitumen batteries. Both mining and in situ projects have benefitted from improved refining efficiencies. However, despite these improvements, the CI of oil sands production (on a pathway-average basis) ranges from 12 to 24% higher than CI values from conventional oil production. Due to growing output, total emissions from the oil sands continue to increase despite improved efficiency: total upstream emissions were roughly 65 MtCO2e in 2010, or 9% of Canada’s emissions.

  18. Historical trends in greenhouse gas emissions of the Alberta oil sands (1970–2010)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    There has been increased scrutiny of the Alberta oil sands due to their high carbon intensity (CI) relative to conventional crude oil. Relying entirely on public and peer-reviewed data sources, we examine historical trends in the CI of oil sands extraction, upgrading, and refining. Monthly data were collected and interpolated from 1970 to 2010 (inclusive) for each oil sands project. Results show a reduction in oil sands CI over time, with industry-average full-fuel cycle (well-to-wheels, WTW) CI declining from 165 gCO2e MJ−1 higher heating value (HHV) of reformulated gasoline (RFG) to 105 (−12, +9) gCO2e MJ−1 HHV RFG. 2010 averages by production pathways are 102 gCO2e MJ−1 for Mining and 111 gCO2e MJ−1 for in situ. The CI of mining-based projects has declined due to upgrader efficiency improvements and a shift away from coke to natural gas as a process fuel. In situ projects have benefitted from substantial reductions in fugitive emissions from bitumen batteries. Both mining and in situ projects have benefitted from improved refining efficiencies. However, despite these improvements, the CI of oil sands production (on a pathway-average basis) ranges from 12 to 24% higher than CI values from conventional oil production. Due to growing output, total emissions from the oil sands continue to increase despite improved efficiency: total upstream emissions were roughly 65 MtCO2e in 2010, or 9% of Canada’s emissions. (letter)

  19. A new approach to the management of cumulative environmental impacts, the Alberta Oil Sands area

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Resource development in the oil sand industry of Northeastern Alberta is enjoying a wave of renewed interest fuelled in part by changes made in the tax and royalty structure for oil sands developments in the province, the development of new technology and the price of oil. Announcements were made of investments totalling approximately 51 billion dollars in the oil sand industry over the next ten years in all deposits. The issue of cumulative environmental effects has been amplified accordingly. In June 2000, an association was formed, the Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA), consisting of stakeholders and based on consensus, with a mandate to address 72 issues related to potential cumulative impacts in the expanded development of the Wood Buffalo Region. Five working groups were formed, as well as three standing committees. To mitigate the cumulative effects, the working groups and standing committees are working on management objectives, management systems and research recommendations. The regulatory bodies receive the recommendations, and the implementation process involves the issuance of permits and licenses. Research and monitoring activities play a vital role in the environmental management system and are part of other current environmental initiatives. Some of the initiatives are managed by the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association, Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program, and the Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development. These organizations touch on topics including air quality monitoring, aquatics monitoring and environmental research. 1 fig

  20. Water availability in peat-mineral mixes and sands in oil sands reclamation, NE Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Soil productivity is a function of the soil's ability to provide moisture to plants. This study was initiated by Suncor and Syncrude to determine the water holding capacity of peat-mineral mixtures in the oil sands region. Other concepts dealt with in this presentation include soil drainage classification, soil moisture regime classification, soil permeability, the hydrological regime and the interactions of these phenomena. A further objective was to incorporate this information in a publication entitled 'Land capability classification for forest ecosystems in the oil sands region', scheduled to be released in November 1997

  1. The Alberta Oil Sands Community Exposure and Health Effects Assessment Program : methods report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Alberta Oil Sands Community Exposure and Health Effects Assessment Program involved the development of a holistic approach to the study of personal exposure and the potential health impacts of airborne contaminants including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3) and particulates (both PM10 and PM2.5). Volunteer residents from Fort McMurray, Alberta were recruited to participate in neurocognitive tests and a health and nutrition survey. In addition, the local community identified several priority contaminants which were highlighted during a public hearing of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board in relation to Syncrude's Mildred Lake Development Project. The approach to the study was based on the direct measurement of all routes of exposure to the contaminants (breathing, ingestion and skin contact), direct measurement of biomarkers, and daily logs of participant's activities. The choice of biomarkers was based on the ability of the laboratory to measure low levels of relevant biological markers, the most appropriate media for measuring the markers, and the burden placed on each volunteer. The final set of biological measures of exposure included trace metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead and uranium) nicotine, and metabolites of the BTEX compounds (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes). The objective was to determine if chronic or occupational exposure to these contaminants cause structural alterations in the respiratory system that compromise oxygen absorption and lung elasticity. 82 refs., 14 tabs., 15 figs., 3 appendices

  2. Airborne Lidar Measurements of Pollution above the Oil Sands Region in Northern Alberta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aggarwal, Monika; Whiteway, James; Seabrook, Jeffrey; Gray, Lawrence; Strawbridge, Kevin B.

    2016-06-01

    Lidar measurements of ozone and aerosol were conducted from a Twin Otter aircraft above the oil sands region of northern Alberta. For the majority of the flights, significant amounts of aerosol were observed within the boundary layer, up to an altitude of 2.0 km above sea level (ASL), while the ozone concentration remained at background levels (30-45 ppb) downwind of the industry. On August 24th the lidar measured a separated layer of aerosol above the boundary layer, at a height of 2.0 km ASL, in which the ozone mixing ratio increased to 70 ppb. Backward trajectory calculations revealed that the air containing this separated aerosol layer had passed over an area of forest fires. Directly below the layer of forest fire smoke, pollution from the oil sands industry was observed. Measurements of the backscatter linear depolarization ratio were obtained with a ground based lidar operated by Environment Canada within the oil sands region. The depolarization measurements aided in discriminating between the separate sources of pollution from industry and forest fires. The depolarization ratio was 5-6% in forest fire smoke and 7-10% in the industrial pollution.

  3. Sediment oxygen demand of wetlands in the oil sands region of north-eastern Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Reclaimed land in the Alberta oil sands mining area contains both reference and oil sands process-affected wetlands constructed using varying sediment compositions. The sediments derived from oil sands process materials (OSPM) may alter the biochemical reactions that take place and affect the sediment oxygen demand (SOD), which is a key factor that contributes to oxygen depletion. This presentation reported on a study in which SOD was measured in a suite of constructed wetlands of different ages, with or without OSPM and topsoil. The purpose of the study was to clarify the role of SOD in wetland function and in the reclamation process. Dissolved oxygen loggers were inserted into dome-shaped chambers on the sediment to measure changes in oxygen demand. Complementary measurements of respiration (CO2 elution) were used to quantify the biological sediment oxygen demand (BSOD) component of SOD. The chemical sediment oxygen demand (CSOD) was then determined by subtraction from SOD. Wetlands reclaimed using OSPM are expected to have a lower BSOD to CSOD ratio than reference wetlands. Residual ammonia in OSPM sediments may react with sulphate and bind phosphorus. This reduces phosphorus bioavailability and may impede submergent macrophyte growth. As such, wetlands affected by CSOD will have fewer submerged macrophytes than BSOD dominant wetlands.

  4. Characterization and distribution of metal and nonmetal elements in the Alberta oil sands region of Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Rongfu; McPhedran, Kerry N; Yang, Lingling; El-Din, Mohamed Gamal

    2016-03-01

    This review covers the characterization and distribution of metals and nonmetals in the Alberta oil sands region (AOSR) of Canada. The development of the oil sands industry has resulted in the release of organic, metal and nonmetal contaminants via air and water to the AOSR. For air, studies have found that atmospheric deposition of metals in the AOSR decreased exponentially with distance from the industrial emission sources. For water, toxic metal concentrations often exceeded safe levels leading to the potential for negative impacts to the receiving aquatic environments. Interestingly, although atmospheric deposition, surface waters, fish tissues, and aquatic bird eggs exhibited increasing level of metals in the AOSR, reported results from river sediments showed no increases over time. This could be attributed to physical and/or chemical dynamics of the river system to transport metals to downstream. The monitoring of the airborne emissions of relevant nonmetals (nitrogen and sulphur species) was also considered over the AOSR. These species were found to be increasing along with the oil sands developments with the resultant depositions contributing to nitrogen and sulphur accumulations resulting in ecosystem acidification and eutrophication impacts. In addition to direct monitoring of metals/nonmetals, tracing of air emissions using isotopes was also discussed. Further investigation and characterization of metals/nonmetals emissions in the AOSR are needed to determine their impacts to the ecosystem and to assess the need for further treatment measures to limit their continued output into the receiving environments. PMID:26766359

  5. Assessment of oil sand process water toxicity in wetlands of northern Alberta using Chironomid mentum deformities

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The effects of oil sands process water (OSPW) on aquatic invertebrates in wetlands near Fort McMurray, Alberta, are assessed. Principal components analysis and cluster analysis of environmental characteristics of 15 wetlands were used to identify three pairs of environmentally similar wetlands that differed mainly in exposure to or absence of OSPW. Large larvae of Chironomidae were collected and examined for mentum deformities (missing or extra teeth) for use as a biomarker. Invertebrate taxa richness and abundance was only moderately lower at OSPW -affected sites than at corresponding reference sites. The incidence of teeth deformities in midges (Chironomidae spp.) from OSPW-affected and corresponding reference wetlands was found to be moderate, and homogeneous among sites and between paired reference and OSPW-affected wetlands. This finding led to the conclusion that the suspected trace metals and PAHs may not be bioavailable in these highly humic wetlands

  6. Sediment oxygen demand of wetlands in the oil sands region of northeastern Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sediment oxygen demand (SOD) can significantly influence the dissolved oxygen concentrations in shallow water bodies. This study discussed the types of sediments used to reclaim wetlands and their influence on SOD, successional processes, and ecosystem trajectories. The study hypothesized that oil sands process material (OSPM) affected wetlands would support cyanobacterial biofilms as opposed to submergent macrophytes as a result of insufficient phosphorus levels. SOD was assessed by monitoring dissolved oxygen concentrations within domes placed on the sediment surface for a 3-hour period. Gas flux and composition analyses were used to quantify the biological SOD components. Chemical SOD components were then determined by subtraction. Concentrations of phosphorus bioavailable to the macrophytes were estimated using plant root simulator probes. The study showed that OSPM wetlands exhibited higher chemical SOD and SOD than reference wetlands, and supported benthic biofilms as opposed to the submergent macrophyte communities typically found in northeastern Alberta wetlands.

  7. Oil sands and petrochemicals

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A study was conducted to evaluate new feedstocks from Alberta's vast oil sands resources to supplement natural gas liquids. The long-term competitiveness of Alberta's petrochemical industry can be increased by having both gas and oil feedstock options. Several schemes were evaluated to help Alberta develop synergies for its oil sands and petrochemical industries through cost effective integration of oil sands, upgrading, refining and petrochemical development. It was shown that phased integration of oil sands and petrochemical developments is technically and economically feasible to co-produce high grade fuels and petrochemicals. Alberta has the potential to become a world-scale energy and petrochemical producer. Alberta's oil sands facilities are potentially capable of supporting new world-scale plants producing ethylene, propylene, benzene, para-xylene, and other high-value-added derivatives. The products can be produced by integrating existing and new oil sands upgrading plants, refineries and petrochemical plants. tabs., figs

  8. Have atmospheric emissions from the Athabasca oil sands impacted lakes in northeastern Alberta, Canada?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rates of oil sands production in northeastern Alberta are outpacing attempts to understand the region's ecology. The extent of potential disturbances caused by atmospheric deposition may remain unknown. Studies have demonstrated that atmospheric sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from the Fort McMurray region of the province have the potential to acidify surface waters. In this study, diatom assemblages in sediment cores from 8 acid-sensitive lakes were analyzed in order to investigate the effects of emissions from oil sands processing plants on boreal lake ecosystems. Diatom stratigraphic data were synthesized using a principal components analysis (PCA) method. A total of 280 diatom taxa were used in the analyses. Results showed that diatom communities in the study lakes have undergone substantial changes over the last century. The study revealed that the lakes showed characteristic changes towards greater alkalinity and productivity. Results suggest that the boreal lakes differ fundamentally from acidified lakes studied in northern Europe and eastern North America. It was concluded that a series of complex interactions involving in-lake alkalinity production, internal nutrient loading, and climate change are responsible for changes in the lake ecosystems. 61 refs., 1 tab., 6 figs

  9. Tracing industrial ammonium in atmospheric deposition in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayer, B.; Proemse, B. C.; Fenn, M. E.

    2013-12-01

    The expanding industrial development in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR) in northeastern Alberta, Canada, has raised concerns about increasing nitrogen (N) emissions from oil sands operations and their potential effects on the surrounding terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Stable isotope techniques may help to trace industrial emissions provided that they are isotopically distinct from background isotope ratios of atmospheric N compounds. Ammonium deposition rates (NH4-N) typically exceed nitrate deposition rates (NO3-N) in the AOSR (Proemse et al., 2013), suggesting that emissions of reduced nitrogen compounds play a significant role for the atmospheric nitrogen budget in the AOSR. We collected atmospheric ammonium in open field bulk deposition and throughfall using ion exchange resins over ~6 months time periods from summer 2007 to summer 2011 located at distances between 3 to 113 km to one of the major oil sands developments in the AOSR. Ammonium deposition rates and δ15N-NH4 values were determined using ion chromatography and the ammonium diffusion method (Sebilo et al., 2004) on resin extracts. Atmospheric ammonium deposition rates in open field bulk collectors and throughfall collectors ranged from 1.0 to 4.7 kg ha-1 yr-1 NH4-N, and from 1.0 to 18.3 kg ha-1 yr-1 NH4-N, respectively. δ15N-NH4 values varied from -6.3 to +14.8‰ with the highest δ15N values typically associated with elevated NH4-N deposition rates. δ15N-NH4 values of up to +20.1‰ were observed for industrially emitted NH4 in particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions (Proemse et al., 2012) suggesting that industrial NH3 and NH4 emissions are associated with elevated δ15N values providing a potential tracer. Applying a two-end-member mixing analysis using a background δ15N-NH4 value of -3.6‰ for summer and -3.2‰ for winter periods revealed that particularly sites within ~30 km radius from the main oil sands developments are significantly affected by industrial contributions to

  10. Small mammals as sentinels of oil sands related contaminants and health effects in northeastern Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodríguez-Estival, Jaime; Smits, Judit E G

    2016-02-01

    The extraction of bitumen in areas of northeastern Alberta (Canada) has been associated with the release of complex mixtures of metals, metalloids, and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) to the environment. To mitigate effects on ecosystems, Canadian legislation mandates that disturbed areas be reclaimed to an ecologically sustainable state after active operations. However, as part of reclamation activities, exposure to, and effects on wildlife living in these areas is not generally assessed. To support successful reclamation, the development of efficient methods to assess exposure and health effects in potentially exposed wildlife is required. In the present study, we investigated the usefulness of two native mammalian species (deer mouse Peromyscus maniculatus, and meadow vole Microtus pennsylvanicus) as sentinels of oil sands related contaminants by examining biomarkers of exposure and indicators of biological costs. Tissue residues of 31 metals and metalloids in kidneys and muscle, activity of the hepatic detoxification enzyme EROD (as a biomarker of exposure to organic contaminants), body condition, and the relative mass of liver, kidney, spleen, and testes were compared in animals from one reclaimed area and a reference site. Deer mice from the reclaimed site had higher renal levels of Co, Se and Tl compared to animals from the reference site, which was associated with reduced body condition. Lower testis mass was another feature that distinguished mice from the reclaimed site in comparison to those from the reference site. One mouse and one vole from the reclaimed site also showed increased hepatic EROD activity. In marked contrast, no changes were evident for these variables in meadow voles. Our results show that deer mouse is a sensitive sentinel species and that the biomarkers and indicators used here are efficient means to detect local contamination and associated biological effects in native mammals inhabiting reclaimed areas on active oil sands mine

  11. Patchwork policy, fragmented forests: In-situ oil sands, industrial development, and the ecological integrity of Alberta's boreal forest

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Environmental impacts of current oil sands industry activities and the potential cumulative impacts of new in-situ oil sands development on the boreal forest of northeastern Alberta are reviewed. The objective is to improve understanding of the impacts of existing industrial activity on the broader boreal forest ecosystem, and the environmental implications of further disturbance to this ecosystem from future development of heavy and conventional fossil fuel reserves in the province. The report also outlines elements of a boreal forest use framework that could assist in managing industrial activity within ecologically sustainable limits and makes recommendations for specific actions that need to be taken by government and industry to guide future development decisions. The top 50 key landscape areas of interest in the province, identified by the World Wildlife Federation, based primarily on a series of reports by Alberta Environmental Protection, are briefly described. Implications of failure to act are also outlined. 138 end-notes, 8 tabs., 16 figs

  12. Origin and geochemistry of saline spring waters in the Athabasca oil sands region, Alberta, Canada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Highlights: • Saline groundwater enters the Athabasca and Clearwater rivers in the AOSR via springs. • High TDS is due to subsurface dissolution of Devonian evaporites and carbonates. • Low δ18O values, and 3H and 14C data suggest some Laurentide glacial meltwater input. • Bacterial sulfate reduction, methanogenesis, and CH4 oxidation were identified. • Metal and PAH contents are reported; bitumen does not appear to be major influence. - Abstract: The geochemistry of saline spring waters in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR) in Alberta (Canada) discharging from Devonian carbonate rocks into the Athabasca and Clearwater rivers was characterized for major ions, trace elements, dissolved gases, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In addition, stable isotope analyses of H2O, SO4, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), Sr, and CH4 were used to trace the sources of spring waters and their dissolved solutes, and to identify subsurface processes affecting water chemistry. The spring waters had δ18O values as low as −23.5‰, suggesting they are composed of up to 75% Laurentide glacial meltwater. Tritium and radiocarbon age-dating results, analyzed for three spring waters, supported a glacial origin. The high salinity of the spring waters (TDS 7210–51,800 mg/L) was due to dissolution of Devonian evaporite and carbonate deposits in the subsurface. Spring waters were affected by bacterial (dissimilatory) sulfate reduction, methanogenesis, and methane oxidation. Trace elements were present in spring waters at varying concentrations, with only one spring containing several predominant oil sands metals (As, Fe, Mo, Ni, Se, Zn) suggesting bitumen as a source. Five springs contained elements (Al, As, B, Fe, Se) at concentrations exceeding water quality guidelines for the protection of aquatic life. Seven PAHs were detected in spring waters (total PAH concentrations ranged from 7.3 to 273.6 ng/L), but most springs contained a maximum of two PAHs (phenanthrene

  13. A bioassessment of lakes in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, using benthic macroinvertebrates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keith M. SOMERS

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Emissions of sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants have increased in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR in Alberta, Canada. Atmospheric pollutants impact aquatic communities through a number of processes, but due to a lack of regional monitoring programs potential biological impacts have not been assessed. In this study, a bioassessment was conducted using approaches borrowed from a variety of protocols to establish a baseline dataset, determine appropriate methodologies, and to assess the current impact of emissions on benthic macroinvertebrate (BMI communities in the AOSR. As a result, 32 lakes, including 5 test lakes located in a modelled high deposition region, were sampled for water chemistry and BMI. The Reference Condition Approach (RCA was used because a baseline dataset does not exist and data were evaluated using three separate statistical techniques. All of the statistical methods used: One Sample T-Tests, Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA and Test Site Analysis (TSA, showed that BMI assemblages in test lakes differed from BMI assemblages in reference lakes. Traditional statistics classified all 5 test lakes as "significantly impaired" whereas TSA identified 3 of the 5 test lakes as only potentially impaired and 2 lakes were in "reference condition". The variability in lake attributes present challenges in interpreting BMI data and establishing an accurate biomonitoring program in the AOSR which need to be addressed in future assessment studies.

  14. A greenhouse study of grass response on composite tailings discharged from Alberta oil sands mine

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wu, Shihong; Wang, Bing [Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd (Canada); Sego, David [Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta (Canada); Naeth, Anne [Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    This study presents an evaluation of the survival and growth of five plant species directly seeded using hydro seeding with mulch, modified broadcast seeding and fresh discharged composite tailings (CT) slurry seeding techniques. The study discusses a greenhouse experiment on grass response that was conducted on composite tailings discharged from an Alberta oil sands mine. The five grass species: bluejoint (Calamagrostis canadensis), creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra), hairy wild rye (Elymus innovatus beal), northern wheatgrass (Agropyron dasystachyum) and slender wheatgrass (Agropyron trachycaulum) were selected for the study based on plant growth and site climatic conditions. The CT mixture was paced in a 4L plastic pail with no drainage at the bottom to prevent water loss. The experimental results indicated broadcast seeding and hydro seeding with mulch and discharge of CT slurry containing seeds can be applied for seeding grass on vast CT deposits. The results also showed a substantial benefit from dewatering CT as a first step towards sustainable development and environmental protection.

  15. Alberta's new oil boom

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A massive expansion of Canada's oil sands and the oil-mining business is underway. The prediction is that within five years there will be at least three, possibly six, huge new open pit mines north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. It was suggested that within 20 years, possibly half of Canada's oil supply will come from the oil sands industry which has already attracted $10 billion worth of developments. Unlike conventional crude, the oil sands contain bitumen, water, clay, minerals and lots of sands. Shallow deposits are mined like coal. Deeper formations make use of in-situ thermal recovery techniques. Extraction costs are presently at $15 per barrel, aiming for $12 by 1999. Return on investment is in double digits. Estimates of reserves in the Athabasca, Cold Lake, Peace River and Wabasca deposits go as high as 1.7 trillion barrels, or about twice as much as Saudi Arabia's conventional crude reserves. Syncrude has built a $5 billion production facility and two pipelines have already been proposed to transport the oil sands crude to midwestern US refineries. US refineries prize synthetic crude as excellent mixing stock. The major problem with oil sands is that unlike conventional oil, these reserves require an enormous amount of energy to exploit, which in turn means lots of foul air and greenhouse gases. There are many environmental unknowns, and without a clear management framework in sight the addition of two or three Syncrude-size operations has the potential to create a real and significant acid rain problem in the Western Canada Basin

  16. Petrochemicals from oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The petrochemical industry in Alberta developed rapidly during the 1980s and 1990s. However, projected diminishing gas production from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin has raised concerns about the future growth of the industry in Alberta. A joint industry/government study has been conducted to evaluate new feedstocks from Alberta's vast oil sands resources to supplement natural gas liquids. Having both gas and oil sands feedstock options should increase the long-term competitiveness of Alberta's petrochemical industry.This paper presents a framework for evaluating and optimizing schemes for helping Alberta develop synergies for its oil sands and petrochemical industries through cost effective integration of oil sands, upgrading, refining and petrochemical development from 2005 to 2020. The paper places emphasis on specific locations and market conditions. It demonstrates that phased integration of oil sands and petrochemical developments is technically and economically feasible to co-produce high grade fuels and petrochemicals, assuming a new pipeline is built between Edmonton and Vancouver. Alberta has the potential to become a world-scale energy and petrochemical cluster. Alberta's oil sands facilities are potentially capable of supporting new world-scale plants producing ethylene, propylene, benzene, para-xylene, and other high-value-added derivatives. The products can be produced by integrating existing and new oil sands upgrading plants, refineries and petrochemical plants within the next 5 to 10 years. 3 refs., 2 tabs., 7 figs

  17. New technology for producing petrochemical feedstock from heavy oils derived from Alberta oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This paper presented the results of a study demonstrating the feasibility of producing petrochemical feedstock or petrochemicals from vacuum gas oils derived from oil sands. A typical bitumen upgrader flow scheme was integrated with several new technologies and coupled with an ethane/propane cracker. Technologies included steam cracking, fluid catalytic cracking (FCC); and the catalytic pyrolysis process (CPP). The scheme was then integrated with the Nova Heavy Oil Cracking (NHC) technology. The NHC process uses a reactor to perform catalytic cracking followed by a main tower that separates gas and liquid products. Aromatic ring cleavage (ARORINCLE) technology was explored as a method of catalytic treatment. Experimental runs were conducted in a laboratory scale fixed bed reactor. A stacked catalyst bed was used, followed by a zeolite-based noble metal catalyst. Examples from process run results were presented. Results indicated that the NHC technology should be used on an FCC unit technology platform. The ARORINCLE technology was considered for use on a hydrotreating unit technology platform. Once the catalysts are fully developed and demonstrated, the economics of the technologies will be enhanced through the construction of world-scale complexes integrating upgrading, refining and petrochemical plants. refs., tabs., figs

  18. Should Alberta upgrade oil sands bitumen? An integrated life cycle framework to evaluate energy systems investment tradeoffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The inclusion of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions costs in energy systems investment decision-making requires the development of a framework that accounts for GHG and economic tradeoffs. This paper develops such a framework by integrating partial cost–benefit analysis with life cycle assessment to explore the question of whether bitumen should be upgraded in the Canadian province of Alberta to produce synthetic crude oil (SCO), or blended with light hydrocarbons to produce lower-quality diluted bitumen (dilbit). The net present value (NPV) of these options is calculated from the stakeholder perspectives of the oil sands industry, the Alberta public, and a climate-concerned Alberta resident. This calculation includes monetized GHG emissions costs stemming from a hypothetical economy-wide GHG price, and a sensitivity analysis explores the effects of variations in technical and economic conditions on stakeholders’ preferences. We find that under most plausible sets of conditions, industry would prefer the dilution option, while the climate-concerned Alberta resident would prefer the upgrading option. In contrast, the preferences of the general Alberta public depend on the values of key variables (e.g., the SCO-dilbit price differential). Key drivers of differences among stakeholders’ preferences include different perceptions of risks and responsibilities for life cycle GHG emissions. - Highlights: • We develop a novel integrated partial cost-benefit analysis/LCA framework. • We consider stakeholder perspectives, and technical and GHG price variations. • Upgrading is typically less GHG-intensive than dilution per barrel of bitumen. • Dilution is typically less GHG-intensive than upgrading per mega joule of gasoline. • Even stringent GHG prices may not align preferences on energy systems investment decisions

  19. A role for nuclear energy in the recovery of oil from the tar sands of Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Techniques of oil recovery from the tar sands and the energy requirements of this operation are described. Fossil fuels, and CANDU reactors are examined as competitive sources of energy for the tar sands plants. The CANDU-OCR reactor appears to have the necessary flexibility to fit into many of the possible methods of recovering oil from the tar sands. Cost comparisons of fossil and nuclear sources show that, for the supply of process steam, the nuclear source is competitive under the criteria of debt financing or low discount rates on capital, continued escalation, and long plant capital write-off period. (author)

  20. Creating peatlands in the oil sand region of Alberta : challenges and opportunities

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Graf, M.; Rochefort, L. [Laval Univ., Quebec City, PQ (Canada). Dept. of Phytologie, Peatland Ecology Research Group; Price, J. [Waterloo Univ., ON (Canada). Dept. of Geography

    2010-07-01

    A research project was launched to study the physiological effects that oil sands process affected water have on peatland plants. Modeling indicates that peatlands can be recreated in post-tar sand mined landscapes, although this is untested. Processing oil sands creates large volumes of tailings, a wet material that contains organic compounds and base cations that have a toxic effect on plants in the region. This toxicity is a significant barrier to peatland creation in post-mined landscapes. The research targets mosses, a keystone species in peatlands. The research focused on determining the contaminant thresholds for typical fen species and identifying the most tolerant species. The conclusions will be useful in addressing the future outcomes of oil sand affected landscapes, allowing reclaimed landscape designs to position peatlands in landscapes according to the tolerable level of contamination.

  1. Measurements of HONO in a Forested Region of Alberta Impacted by Oil Sands Processing Facilities

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLaren, R.; Nikelski, K.; Lobo, A.; Davis, Z.

    2015-12-01

    During the summer of 2013, measurements of NO2, SO2 and HONO were made at a ground site in a rural forested region of Alberta known to be impacted by several oil sands processing facilities. Such sources are known to be the main sources of NOx and SOx emissions in the region. Nitrous acid (HONO) can be emitted directly from combustion sources in addition to being formed from the heterogeneous hydrolysis of NO2 on moist surfaces. The measurements were made both day and night by Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) along a 2.304 km optical return path through the forest canopy using a 30-corner cube reflector. Nitrous acid (HONO) is of particular relevance to atmospheric chemistry as it can contribute to photochemical production of the OH radical, the main daytime oxidant in the troposphere, which was estimated to exceed 2•107 molec cm-3 on several days during the study, giving rise to rapid aerosol formation. Typically in urban areas HONO mixing ratios accumulate during the night, and are lost the next morning due to photolysis (HONO + hv→ OH + NO2). During this study however, HONO mixing ratios were found to be quite low with a median nightime mixing ratio of ~ 200 ppt. This is attributed to the very low nighttime NO2 precursor levels, perhaps in combination with a high surface area for deposition on the coniferous canopy. The low nighttime mixing ratios of NO2 and SO2 were driven by limited nocturnal mixing of elevated plumes down to the surface, while high daytime levels of NO2 and SO2 were episodic and frequently driven by daytime fumigation of the elevated plumes to the surface with additional contribution from surface sources of NOx. Daytime mixing ratios of HONO persisted longer than expected with median noontime mixing ratios of >50ppt. While this can imply an additional daytime source of HONO as has been observed by many others, it may also result from reduced photolysis rates below the canopy. This issue is being pursued more

  2. Characterization of Clay Minerals and Kerogen in Alberta Oil Sands Geological End Members

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zheng, Limin

    The high degree of variability of oil sands ores can be attributed to a mixture of different geological end members, i.e., estuarine sand, estuarine clay, marine sand and marine clay. This study focused on the mineralogy, especially of clay minerals, and toluene insoluble organic matter, referred to as kerogen, in different oil sands end members. Clays and kerogens will likely have a significant impact on solvent recovery from the gangue following non-aqueous bitumen extraction. The bitumen-free solids were subjected to mineralogical and geochemical analysis. Kerogens were isolated and analyzed by various characterization methods. The types of clays were identified in oriented samples by X-ray diffraction analysis. The nitrogen to carbon ratio in the isolated kerogens is found to be higher than in bitumen. There are more type III kerogens in estuarine samples and more type II kerogens in marine samples.

  3. Phytoremediation of Alberta oil sand tailings using native plants and fungal endophytes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Repas, T.; Germida, J.; Kaminskyj, S.

    2012-04-01

    Fungal endophytes colonize host plants without causing disease. Some endophytes confer plant tolerance to harsh environments. One such endophyte, Trichoderma harzianum strain TSTh20-1, was isolated from a plant growing on Athabasca oil sand tailings. Tailing sands are a high volume waste product from oil sand extraction that the industry is required to remediate. Tailing sands are low in organic carbon and mineral nutrients, and are hydrophobic due to residual polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Typically, tailing sands are remediated by planting young trees in large quantities of mulch plus mineral fertilizer, which is costly and labour intensive. In greenhouse trials, TSTh20-1 supports growth of tomato seedlings on tailing sands without fertilizer. The potential use of TSTh20-1 in combination with native grasses and forbs to remediate under field conditions is being assessed. Twenty-three commercially available plant species are being screened for seed germination and growth on tailing sands in the presence of TSTh20-1. The best candidates from this group will be used in greenhouse and small scale field trials. Potential mechanisms that contribute to endophyte-induced plant growth promotion, such as plant hormone production, stress tolerance, mineral solubilization, and uptake are also being assessed. As well, TSTh20-1 appears to be remarkably frugal in its nutrient requirements and the possibility that this attribute is characteristic of other plant-fungal endophytes from harsh environments is under study.

  4. Determining air pollutant emission rates based on mass balance using airborne measurement data over the Alberta oil sands operations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Gordon

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Top-down approaches to measure total integrated emissions provide verification of bottom-up, temporally-resolved, inventory-based estimations. Aircraft-based measurements of air pollutants from sources in the Canadian oil sands were made in support of the Joint Canada–Alberta Implementation Plan on Oil Sands Monitoring during a summer intensive field campaign between 13 August and 7 September 2013. The measurements contribute to knowledge needed in support of the Joint Canada–Alberta Implementation Plan on Oil Sands Monitoring. This paper describes a Top-down Emission Rate Retrieval Algorithm (TERRA to determine facility emissions of pollutants, using SO2 and CH4 as examples, based on the aircraft measurements. In this algorithm, the flight path around a facility at multiple heights is mapped to a two-dimensional vertical screen surrounding the facility. The total transport of SO2 and CH4 through this screen is calculated using aircraft wind measurements, and facility emissions are then calculated based on the divergence theorem with estimations of box-top losses, horizontal and vertical turbulent fluxes, surface deposition, and apparent losses due to air densification and chemical reaction. Example calculations for two separate flights are presented. During an upset condition of SO2 emissions on one day, these calculations are within 5% of the industry-reported, bottom-up measurements. During a return to normal operating conditions, the SO2 emissions are within 11% of industry-reported, bottom-up measurements. CH4 emissions calculated with the algorithm are relatively constant within the range of uncertainties. Uncertainty of the emission rates is estimated as 20%, which is primarily due to the unknown SO2 and CH4 mixing ratios near the surface below the lowest flight level.

  5. Determining air pollutant emission rates based on mass balance using airborne measurement data over the Alberta oil sands operations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, M.; Li, S.-M.; Staebler, R.; Darlington, A.; Hayden, K.; O'Brien, J.; Wolde, M.

    2015-09-01

    Top-down approaches to measure total integrated emissions provide verification of bottom-up, temporally resolved, inventory-based estimations. Aircraft-based measurements of air pollutants from sources in the Canadian oil sands were made in support of the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring during a summer intensive field campaign between 13 August and 7 September 2013. The measurements contribute to knowledge needed in support of the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring. This paper describes the top-down emission rate retrieval algorithm (TERRA) to determine facility emissions of pollutants, using SO2 and CH4 as examples, based on the aircraft measurements. In this algorithm, the flight path around a facility at multiple heights is mapped to a two-dimensional vertical screen surrounding the facility. The total transport of SO2 and CH4 through this screen is calculated using aircraft wind measurements, and facility emissions are then calculated based on the divergence theorem with estimations of box-top losses, horizontal and vertical turbulent fluxes, surface deposition, and apparent losses due to air densification and chemical reaction. Example calculations for two separate flights are presented. During an upset condition of SO2 emissions on one day, these calculations are within 5 % of the industry-reported, bottom-up measurements. During a return to normal operating conditions, the SO2 emissions are within 11 % of industry-reported, bottom-up measurements. CH4 emissions calculated with the algorithm are relatively constant within the range of uncertainties. Uncertainty of the emission rates is estimated as less than 30 %, which is primarily due to the unknown SO2 and CH4 mixing ratios near the surface below the lowest flight level.

  6. Potential methane production and oxidation in soil reclamation covers of an oil sands mining site in Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pum, Lisa; Reichenauer, Thomas; Germida, Jim

    2015-04-01

    Anthropogenic activities create a number of significant greenhouse gases and thus potentially contribute to global warming. Methane production is significant in some agricultural production systems and from wetlands. In soil, methane can be oxidised by methanotrophic bacteria. However, little is known about methane production and oxidation in oil sand reclamation covers. The purpose of this study was to investigate methane production and oxidation potential of tailing sands and six different reclamation layers of oil sands mining sites in Alberta, Canada. Methane production and oxidation potential were investigated in laboratory scale microcosms through continuous headspace analysis using gas chromatography. Samples from a reclamation layer were collected at the Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) reclamation site at depths of 0-10 cm, 10-20 cm and 20-40 cm in October 2014. In addition, tailing sands provided by Suncor Energy Inc. and soil from a CNRL wetland were studied for methane production. Samples were dried, crushed and sieved to 4 mm, packed into serum bottle microcosms and monitored for eight weeks. Methane production potential was assessed by providing an anoxic environment and by adjusting the samples to a moisture holding capacity of 100 %. Methane oxidation potential was examined by an initial application of 2 vol % methane to the microcosms and by adjusting the samples to a moisture holding capacity of 50 %. Microcosm headspace gas was analysed for methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and oxygen. All experiments were carried out in triplicates, including controls. SF6 and Helium were used as internal standards to detect potential leaks. Our results show differences for methane production potential between the soil depths, tailing sands and wetlands. Moreover, there were differences in the methane oxidation potential of substrate from the three depths investigated and between the reclamation layers. In conclusion, the present study shows that

  7. Multicomponent seismic reservoir characterization of a steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) heavy oil project, Athabasca oil sands, Alberta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schiltz, Kelsey Kristine

    Steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) is an in situ heavy oil recovery method involving the injection of steam in horizontal wells. Time-lapse seismic analysis over a SAGD project in the Athabasca oil sands deposit of Alberta reveals that the SAGD steam chamber has not developed uniformly. Core data confirm the presence of low permeability shale bodies within the reservoir. These shales can act as barriers and baffles to steam and limit production by prohibiting steam from accessing the full extent of the reservoir. Seismic data can be used to identify these shale breaks prior to siting new SAGD well pairs in order to optimize field development. To identify shale breaks in the study area, three types of seismic inversion and a probabilistic neural network prediction were performed. The predictive value of each result was evaluated by comparing the position of interpreted shales with the boundaries of the steam chamber determined through time-lapse analysis. The P-impedance result from post-stack inversion did not contain enough detail to be able to predict the vertical boundaries of the steam chamber but did show some predictive value in a spatial sense. P-impedance from pre-stack inversion exhibited some meaningful correlations with the steam chamber but was misleading in many crucial areas, particularly the lower reservoir. Density estimated through the application of a probabilistic neural network (PNN) trained using both PP and PS attributes identified shales most accurately. The interpreted shales from this result exhibit a strong relationship with the boundaries of the steam chamber, leading to the conclusion that the PNN method can be used to make predictions about steam chamber growth. In this study, reservoir characterization incorporating multicomponent seismic data demonstrated a high predictive value and could be useful in evaluating future well placement.

  8. Conservation and reclamation at Alberta's mineable oil sands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Purdy, B.; Richens, T. [Alberta Environment, Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    The regulatory foundation for oil sands in this region is established by the Energy Resources Conservation Board, Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA), as well as the Water Act. This presentation discussed the regulatory foundation for conservation and reclamation in the mineable oil sands region. EPEA requirements and conservation objectives were identified. EPEA conservation and reclamation requirements stipulate that an operator must conserve and reclaim and obtain a reclamation certificate. EPEA approvals that were presented compared prescriptive standards versus meeting outcomes at certification. Operational and management challenges as well as the role of research networks and multi-stakeholder organizations were also addressed. Challenge facing the industry include progressive reclamation; tailings management and process-affected water; reclamation certification; integrated landscapes; soil handling and revegetation and monitoring and research. The presentation demonstrated that reclamation begins with mine planning and ends with certification. figs.

  9. Vegetation diversity and biomass : response to oil sand tailings disposal in Fort McMurray, Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    While covering the bottom of constructed wetlands with a layer of oil sands tailings has been proposed as a means of disposal, the salts and naphthenic acids (NA) in tailings may have negative impacts on wetland vegetation development. This study was conducted to determine if wetlands constructed with oil sands tailings have a lower vegetation diversity and biomass than constructed wetlands that are not amended with tailings. The effects of NA and salinity on the vegetation in natural, constructed, and tailings-impacted wetlands were evaluated in 30 sites in the Fort McMurray region. Results of the study indicate that the presence of tailings negatively impacted both vegetation diversity and biomass. Salinity was identified as the primary causal factor.

  10. Relationships between lake water chemistry and benthic macroinvertebrates in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta

    OpenAIRE

    Keith M. SOMERS; Peter J Dillon; Shaun A. WATMOUGH; Brent G. PARSONS

    2010-01-01

    Sulphur and nitrogen emissions in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) are a threat to regional lentic ecosystems. Benthic macroinvertebrates have been used successfully elsewhere to monitor the impacts of acid emissions on water bodies and the opportunity exists to implement a regional lentic biomonitoring program in the AOSR. Metrics are often used to assess the impacts of anthropogenic stressors because they describe biological conditions through a variety of measures. The selection of ap...

  11. Dissolved organic carbon in a constructed and natural fens in the Athabasca oil sands region, Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khadka, Bhupesh; Munir, Tariq M; Strack, Maria

    2016-07-01

    In the Athabasca oil sands region near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, peatlands are disturbed extensively in order to recover bitumen below the surface. Hence, following oil sands mining, landscape reclamation is a part of the mine closure process in order to return functioning ecosystems, including peatlands, to the region. This study was conducted at a pilot fen reclamation project and three other diverse natural (poor, rich and saline) fens in the oil sands region during the growing seasons of 2013 and 2014, the first and second year post-construction. Ecosystem functioning of the constructed fen (CF) was evaluated with reference to natural fens based on pore water dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration and chemistry. Significant variation of DOC concentration among the reference fens was observed, varying from an average of 42.0mg/L at the rich fen (RF) to 70.8mg/L at the saline fen (SF). Dissolved organic carbon concentration at CF was significantly lower than at all reference fens, but increased significantly over the first two years. Seasonal variation of DOC concentration was also observed in each site with concentration increasing over the growing season. At CF, DOC was comprised of larger, more humic and complex aromatic compounds than reference fens in the first year post-construction based on its spectrophotometric properties; however, these differences were reduced in the second year. Initial DOC concentration and chemistry at CF was indicative of the source being largely the peat placed during fen construction. Changes in chemistry and increasing concentration of DOC in the second growing season likely resulted from increasing inputs from plants established on site. These results suggest that DOC concentration is likely to increase in future at CF as vascular plant productivity increases and in response to salinity sourced from tailing sand used to construct the catchment. PMID:27037879

  12. Nitrogen and sulphur deposition and the growth of Sphagnum fuscum in bogs of the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Melanie A. VILE

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available One of the consequences of ongoing development of the oil sands reserve in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada (56° 39' N, 111° 13' W is an increase in emissions of nitrogen (N and sulphur (S, with an attendant increases in regional atmospheric N and S deposition. Regional land cover across northeastern Alberta is a mixture of Boreal Mixedwood, Boreal Highlands, and Subarctic areas. Peatlands occupy between 22 and 66% of these natural regions, and the land cover of bogs varies between 6.7% in the Mixedwood Region to 46% in the Subarctic Region. Ombrotrophic bog ecosystems may be especially sensitive to atmospheric deposition of N and S. Across 10 ombrotrophic bog sites in the AOSR over four years (2005– 2008, we found no evidence of elevated deposition of NH4 +-N, NO3 –-N, total inorganic nitrogen (TIN; NH4 +-N plus NO3 –-N, or SO4 2–-S, with values measured using ion exchange resin collectors averaging 0.61 ± 04, 0.20 ± 0.01, 0.81 ± 0.04, and 1.14 ± 0.06 kg ha–1 y–1, respectively. Vertical growth and net primary production of Sphagnum fuscum, an indicator of elevated deposition, did not differ consistently across sites, averaging 11.8 ± 0.2 mm y–1 and 234 ± 3.3 g m–2 y–1, respectively, over the four years. Neither vertical growth nor net primary production of S. fuscum was correlated with growing season atmospheric N or S deposition. Our data provide a valuable benchmark of background values for monitoring purposes in anticipation of increasing N and S deposition over a broader geographic region within the AOSR.

  13. Evaluating the Metal Tolerance Capacity of Microbial Communities Isolated from Alberta Oil Sands Process Water.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frankel, Mathew L; Demeter, Marc A; Lemire, Joe A; Turner, Raymond J

    2016-01-01

    Anthropogenic activities have resulted in the intensified use of water resources. For example, open pit bitumen extraction by Canada's oil sands operations uses an estimated volume of three barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced. The waste tailings-oil sands process water (OSPW)-are stored in holding ponds, and present an environmental concern as they are comprised of residual hydrocarbons and metals. Following the hypothesis that endogenous OSPW microbial communities have an enhanced tolerance to heavy metals, we tested the capacity of planktonic and biofilm populations from OSPW to withstand metal ion challenges, using Cupriavidus metallidurans, a known metal-resistant organism, for comparison. The toxicity of the metals toward biofilm and planktonic bacterial populations was determined by measuring the minimum biofilm inhibitory concentrations (MBICs) and planktonic minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) using the MBEC ™ assay. We observed that the OSPW community and C. metallidurans had similar tolerances to 22 different metals. While thiophillic elements (Te, Ag, Cd, Ni) were found to be most toxic, the OSPW consortia demonstrated higher tolerance to metals reported in tailings ponds (Al, Fe, Mo, Pb). Metal toxicity correlated with a number of physicochemical characteristics of the metals. Parameters reflecting metal-ligand affinities showed fewer and weaker correlations for the community compared to C. metallidurans, suggesting that the OSPW consortia may have developed tolerance mechanisms toward metals present in their environment. PMID:26849649

  14. Evaluating the Metal Tolerance Capacity of Microbial Communities Isolated from Alberta Oil Sands Process Water.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mathew L Frankel

    Full Text Available Anthropogenic activities have resulted in the intensified use of water resources. For example, open pit bitumen extraction by Canada's oil sands operations uses an estimated volume of three barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced. The waste tailings-oil sands process water (OSPW-are stored in holding ponds, and present an environmental concern as they are comprised of residual hydrocarbons and metals. Following the hypothesis that endogenous OSPW microbial communities have an enhanced tolerance to heavy metals, we tested the capacity of planktonic and biofilm populations from OSPW to withstand metal ion challenges, using Cupriavidus metallidurans, a known metal-resistant organism, for comparison. The toxicity of the metals toward biofilm and planktonic bacterial populations was determined by measuring the minimum biofilm inhibitory concentrations (MBICs and planktonic minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs using the MBEC ™ assay. We observed that the OSPW community and C. metallidurans had similar tolerances to 22 different metals. While thiophillic elements (Te, Ag, Cd, Ni were found to be most toxic, the OSPW consortia demonstrated higher tolerance to metals reported in tailings ponds (Al, Fe, Mo, Pb. Metal toxicity correlated with a number of physicochemical characteristics of the metals. Parameters reflecting metal-ligand affinities showed fewer and weaker correlations for the community compared to C. metallidurans, suggesting that the OSPW consortia may have developed tolerance mechanisms toward metals present in their environment.

  15. Emergence, growth, and dispersal of Chironomidae in reclaimed wetlands in the Athabasca oil sands region of Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kennedy, K.; Ciborowski, J. [Windsor Univ., ON (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    Concerns over the environmental impacts of oil sands extraction in northeastern Alberta has increased as the industry continues to expand. This study examined if the emergence, growth, and dispersal of Chironomidae differ in reclaimed wetlands constructed with oil sands process materials (OSPM) when compared with growth in reference wetlands. Five floating 30 cm diameter halo traps were deployed in various wetlands for a 24 hour period. Exuviae trapped in the surface water film were then collected, identified, and counted. Chironomids grown in laboratories from egg masses collected from 2 OSPM-affected wetlands and 2 reference wetlands were paired according to geographic proximity under controlled conditions for 1 generation. Chironomid larval growth was quantified in situ in the wetlands by reciprocally transferring second instar, second generation culture larva. The dispersal of the larvae was quantified by tabulating the number of adults caught in sticky insect traps located along 3 radially-arranged transects in each wetland. A preliminary analysis has suggested that fewer chironomids emerged from the OSPM-affected wetlands. No differences in dispersal distance between the OSPM-affected and reference wetlands were observed.

  16. Emergence, growth, and dispersal of Chironomidae in reclaimed wetlands in the Athabasca oil sands region of Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Concerns over the environmental impacts of oil sands extraction in northeastern Alberta has increased as the industry continues to expand. This study examined if the emergence, growth, and dispersal of Chironomidae differ in reclaimed wetlands constructed with oil sands process materials (OSPM) when compared with growth in reference wetlands. Five floating 30 cm diameter halo traps were deployed in various wetlands for a 24 hour period. Exuviae trapped in the surface water film were then collected, identified, and counted. Chironomids grown in laboratories from egg masses collected from 2 OSPM-affected wetlands and 2 reference wetlands were paired according to geographic proximity under controlled conditions for 1 generation. Chironomid larval growth was quantified in situ in the wetlands by reciprocally transferring second instar, second generation culture larva. The dispersal of the larvae was quantified by tabulating the number of adults caught in sticky insect traps located along 3 radially-arranged transects in each wetland. A preliminary analysis has suggested that fewer chironomids emerged from the OSPM-affected wetlands. No differences in dispersal distance between the OSPM-affected and reference wetlands were observed.

  17. A look at one of the world`s largest apron feeder drives - Alberta Oil Sands Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Persson, O. [Hagglunds Drives Canada Inc., Vancouver, BC (Canada)

    1999-10-01

    Various types of equipment to transport tar sands to processing plants are discussed, with special attention to the advantages of hydraulic direct drives over conventional electro-mechanical drives. A hydraulic direct drive such as the Hagglund Drive has exceptional starting torque capacity due to the high torque capability of the hydraulic motor. As such, it can be particularly useful in applications where shock loads occur with some frequency, or where many starts and stops are needed. Application of the Hagglund drive to power one of the world`s largest apron feeders in the Alberta Oil Sands is described as an illustration of the exceptional reliability, productivity and performance of this equipment. It has about one five-hundredth of the inertia of an equivalent high speed drive with gear reducer, a feature which is particularly significant in the case of feeders which are known to suffer much downtime due to chain related problems. These types of drives have also been used to great advantage in the process industries like pulp and paper, chemical, rubber and plastics, recycling and steel. 1 tab., 1 fig.

  18. A look at one of the world's largest apron feeder drives - Alberta Oil Sands Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Persson, O. (Hagglunds Drives Canada Inc., Vancouver, BC (Canada))

    1999-01-01

    Various types of equipment to transport tar sands to processing plants are discussed, with special attention to the advantages of hydraulic direct drives over conventional electro-mechanical drives. A hydraulic direct drive such as the Hagglund Drive has exceptional starting torque capacity due to the high torque capability of the hydraulic motor. As such, it can be particularly useful in applications where shock loads occur with some frequency, or where many starts and stops are needed. Application of the Hagglund drive to power one of the world's largest apron feeders in the Alberta Oil Sands is described as an illustration of the exceptional reliability, productivity and performance of this equipment. It has about one five-hundredth of the inertia of an equivalent high speed drive with gear reducer, a feature which is particularly significant in the case of feeders which are known to suffer much downtime due to chain related problems. These types of drives have also been used to great advantage in the process industries like pulp and paper, chemical, rubber and plastics, recycling and steel. 1 tab., 1 fig.

  19. Case study : evaluation of oilfield and water well disposal well designs for oil sands facility in northern Alberta, Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Champollion, Y.; Gleixner, M.R.; Wozniewicz, J. [Golder Associates Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada); MacFarlane, W.D.; Skulski, L. [Nexen Canada Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2003-07-01

    Large volumes of wastewater disposal capacity will be required for the production of bitumen at the Long Lake Project, located in northeastern Alberta. An unconsolidated sand aquifer is the target formation for disposal. An evaluation of two disposal well designs, perforated casing (standard oil and gas approach), and wire-wound telescopic screen (standard water well approach) was performed. Skin, transmissivity and storability were the hydraulic parameters quantified. Full superposition type curves were used to conduct the transient analysis, along with the use of pressure derivative data. The results from the injection tests revealed that the sand aquifer at the Long Lake Project had suitable aquifer disposal capacity. The test results also revealed that clogging takes place in the vicinity of the wellbore, probably because of suspended solids in the injection water and the degassing effects. The water well design, as opposed to the standard oilfields well, makes provision for less costly re-development during operations, something that might be required if clogging problems occur. 3 refs., 8 figs.

  20. Vegetation community composition in wetlands created following oil sand mining in Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roy, Marie-Claude; Foote, Lee; Ciborowski, Jan J H

    2016-05-01

    Reclaiming wetlands following open pit mining for industrial oil sand extraction is challenging due to the physical and chemical conditions of the post-mined landscape. The aim of our study was to examine and compare the influence of oil sands process water (OSPW) and material (fine fluid tails or FFT) on the plant community composition of created wetlands. Compared to created-unamended and natural wetlands, the created wetlands amended with OSPW and/or FFT (created-tailings wetlands) had significantly higher water salinity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen concentration and lower oxidative-reductive potential. Water chemistry parameters of created-unamended did not differ significantly from those of natural wetlands. The sediment of created wetlands had significantly less moisture, total nitrogen, and organic content than the natural wetlands. The application of OSPW/FFT in created wetlands will likely lead to initial vegetation composition atypical of natural regional wetlands. For the objective of reclaiming vegetation composition to the status of natural regional wetlands, unamended wetlands were the best reclamation option, based on the physical and chemical parameters measured. Despite being the favored reclamation option, created-unamended wetlands' physical and chemical characteristics remain atypical of natural wetlands. Most significantly, the basin morphometry of created wetlands was significantly different from that of naturally-formed wetlands in the region, and this appears to partly explain difference in vegetation composition. We also demonstrate that species richness alone is not a useful measure in wetland monitoring. Instead, plant community composition is a better indicator of wetland conditions. PMID:26921562

  1. Has Alberta oil sands development altered delivery of polycyclic aromatic compounds to the Peace-Athabasca Delta?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roland I Hall

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The extent to which Alberta oil sands mining and upgrading operations have enhanced delivery of bitumen-derived contaminants via the Athabasca River and atmosphere to the Peace-Athabasca Delta (200 km to the north is a pivotal question that has generated national and international concern. Accounts of rare health disorders in residents of Fort Chipewyan and deformed fish in downstream ecosystems provided impetus for several recent expert-panel assessments regarding the societal and environmental consequences of this multi-billion-dollar industry. Deciphering relative contributions of natural versus industrial processes on downstream supply of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs has been identified as a critical knowledge gap. But, this remains a formidable scientific challenge because loading from natural processes remains unknown. And, industrial activity occurs in the same locations as the natural bitumen deposits, which potentially confounds contemporary upstream-downstream comparisons of contaminant levels. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Based on analyses of lake sediment cores, we provide evidence that the Athabasca Delta has been a natural repository of PACs carried by the Athabasca River for at least the past two centuries. We detect no measureable increase in the concentration and proportion of river-transported bitumen-associated indicator PACs in sediments deposited in a flood-prone lake since onset of oil sands development. Results also reveal no evidence that industrial activity has contributed measurably to sedimentary concentration of PACs supplied by atmospheric transport. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Findings suggest that natural erosion of exposed bitumen in banks of the Athabasca River and its tributaries is a major process delivering PACs to the Athabasca Delta, and the spring freshet is a key period for contaminant mobilization and transport. This baseline environmental information is essential for informed management

  2. Relationships between lake water chemistry and benthic macroinvertebrates in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keith M. SOMERS

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Sulphur and nitrogen emissions in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR are a threat to regional lentic ecosystems. Benthic macroinvertebrates have been used successfully elsewhere to monitor the impacts of acid emissions on water bodies and the opportunity exists to implement a regional lentic biomonitoring program in the AOSR. Metrics are often used to assess the impacts of anthropogenic stressors because they describe biological conditions through a variety of measures. The selection of appropriate metrics is an integral component of any biomonitoring program and it depends on the in situ relationships between water chemistry and benthic macroinvertebrates. In order to establish these relationships we compared lake water chemistry parameters with benthic macroinvertebrate communities and metric scores from 32 lakes in the AOSR through Redundancy Analyses. Lake acidity correlates positively with Hyallelidae and negatively with Chironomidae and Oligochaeta while dissolved organic carbon is also an important determinant of benthic macroinvertebrate community composition. A number of metrics were strongly correlated with lake acidity and the following compositional metrics proved to be the most suitable for monitoring acidification in the AOSR: % Diptera, % Oligochaeta, % EPT, Total Ephemeroptera and Total Trichoptera.

  3. Desalination of oil sands process-affected water and basal depressurization water in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada: application of electrodialysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Eun-Sik; Dong, Shimiao; Liu, Yang; Gamal El-Din, Mohamed

    2013-01-01

    The high content of inorganic species in water used to extract bitumen from the Alberta oil sands and in the groundwater below the oil sands is an increasing environmental concern. These water matrices require treatment before they can be reused or safely discharged. Desalination of the oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) and groundwater, or basal depressurization water (BDW), can be accomplished with deionization techniques such as electrodialysis (ED). In order to achieve the effective ED treatment, OSPW and BDW were pretreated with coagulation-flocculation-sedimentation to remove solid species and turbidity. We demonstrated that a conductivity range for industrial reuse of OSPW and BDW can be achieved with the ED treatment and showed the possibility of applying ED in the oil sands industry. A continuous ED system that reuses the diluate stream as a source for the concentrate stream was designed. The cost of a hypothetical ED water treatment plant in Fort McMurray, Alberta, was estimated to be C$10.71 per cubic meter of treated water. PMID:24355856

  4. A modelling framework for reclamation planning of oil sands mines in northern Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Reclamation Landscape Model Development Project was initiated in 1991 to develop a modelling framework to assist in oil sands mine reclamation planning. The initial year focused on developing a suite of computer simulation models suitable for evaluating hydrodynamic, water quality and biological conditions of fine-tails bottom lakes that would be capped with a layer of fresh water. That modelling framework was further refined in 1992--93 by incorporating probabilistic capabilities, developing of secondary production and food-chain components, and implementing of a model to simulate contaminant concentrations in the Athabasca River. In 1993--94 the emphasis expanded from a focus solely on developing tools for evaluating wet landscape options to developing an integrated modelling framework capable of evaluating both wet and dry landscape reclamation options. Major components completed in 1993--94 included development of a dry landscape module that includes surface runoff, groundwater seepage, air vapor and bioaccumulation components, a wetlands module to assist in evaluating treatment potential and for optimizing design of wetlands units, and a risk analysis module for quantifying risks to human health and ecological receptors. The Reclamation Landscape Model is a compartment modelling system that consists of a number of stand-alone computer programs that can be run in conjunction with one another or separately. The computer programs that simulate contaminant-fate processes range from simple empirical models to complex, mechanistic, three-dimensional, dynamic models, which are capable of predicting contaminant concentrations in water, soil, air and biota for a wide range of reclamation landscape units. Most of the component models have probabilistic capabilities

  5. Palaeolimnological assessment of lake acidification and environmental change in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sergi PLA

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Exploitation of the Athabasca Oil Sands has expanded hugely over the last 40 years. Regional emissions of oxidised sulphur and nitrogen compounds increased rapidly over this period and similar emissions have been linked to lake acidification in other parts of North America and Europe. To determine whether lakes in the region have undergone acidification, 12 lakes within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the Caribou Mountains were selected to cover chemical and spatial gradients and sediment cores were obtained for palaeolimnological analyses including radiometric dating, diatom analysis, isotopic analysis of bulk sediment 13C and 15N, and spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCPs. All lake sediment cores show evidence of industrial contamination based on SCPs, but there is no clear industrial signal in stable isotopes. Most lakes showed changes in diatom assemblages and sediment C:N ratios consistent with nutrient enrichment over various timescales, with potential drivers including climatic change, forest fires and anthropogenic nitrogen deposition. Only one of the 12 lakes investigated showed strong evidence of acidification with a decline in diatom-inferred pH from 6.3 to 5.6 since 1970 linked to increasing relative abundances of the acidophilous diatom species Actinella punctata, Asterionella ralfsii and Fragilariforma polygonata. Analysis of mercury (Hg in the acidified lake showed increasing sediment fluxes over the last 20 years, a possible indication of industrial contamination. The acidified lake is the smallest of those studied with the shortest residence time, suggesting a limited capacity for neutralisation of acid inputs in catchment soils or by inlake processes.

  6. Spatial and temporal distribution of ambient nitric acid and ammonia in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diane ALEXANDER

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Monthly average ambient concentrations of gaseous nitric acid (HNO3 and ammonia (NH3 were monitored at the Athabasca Oils Sands Region (AOSR, Alberta, Canada, between May 2005 and September 2008. Generally, concentrations of both pollutants were elevated and highly variable in space and time. The highest atmospheric concentrations occurred in the vicinity of the major mining and oil extraction activities of Fort Murray and Fort McKay. Maximum monthly average concentrations of HNO3 decreased from >6 μg m–3 2005 and 2006 to <4 μg m–3 in 2007 and 2008. While the HNO3 summer seasonal averages in 2005 and 2006 approached ~2 μg m–3 at some sites, in the subsequent summers and during winter seasons it rarely exceeded 1 μg m–3 and no clear differences between summer and winter occurred. Concentrations of NH3 were elevated during the entire study and frequently reached 6 μg m–3. Generally, NH3 stayed higher in summer than in winter; the summer seasonal averages often exceeded 4 μg m–3 while those for winter only on two occasions were above 3 μg m–3. In summer 2008, an expansion of the area with elevated NH3 levels was observed extending to remote locations. Ammonia is of a much higher concern from a perspective of possible biological effects, because of its potential for direct toxic effect on lichens and its contribution to the elevated N dry deposition with possible negative consequences for forests and other ecosystems.

  7. Twelve-year trends in ambient concentrations of volatile organic compounds in a community of the Alberta Oil Sands Region, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bari, Md Aynul; Kindzierski, Warren B; Spink, David

    2016-05-01

    Environmental exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in ambient air is one of a number of concerns that the First Nation Community of Fort McKay, Alberta has related to development of Canada's oil sands. An in-depth investigation of trends in ambient air VOC levels in Fort McKay was undertaken to better understand the role and possible significance of emissions from Alberta's oil sands development. A non-parametric trend detection method was used to investigate trends in emissions and ambient VOC concentrations over a 12-year (2001-2012) period. Relationships between ambient VOC concentrations and production indicators of oil sands operations around Fort McKay were also examined. A weak upward trend (significant at 90% confidence level) was found for ambient concentrations of total VOCs based on sixteen detected species with an annual increase of 0.64μg/m(3) (7.2%) per year (7.7μg/m(3) increase per decade). Indicators of production (i.e., annual bitumen production and mined oil sands quantities) were correlated with ambient total VOC concentrations. Only one of 29 VOC species evaluated (1-butene) showed a statistically significant upward trend (p=0.05). Observed geometric (arithmetic) mean and maximum ambient concentrations of selected VOCs of public health concern for most recent three years of the study period (2010-2012) were below chronic and acute health risk screening criteria of the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Thirty-two VOCs are recommended for tracking in future air quality investigations in the community to better understand whether changes are occurring over time in relation to oil sands development activities and to inform policy makers about whether or not these changes warrant additional attention. PMID:26909813

  8. Sensitivity to Acidification of Forest Soils in Two Watersheds with Contrasting Hydrological Regimes in the Oil Sands Region of Alberta

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2007-01-01

    Input of large amounts of N and S compounds into forest ecosystems through atmospheric deposition is a significant risk for soil acidification in the oil sands region of Alberta. We evaluated the sensitivity of forest soils to acidification in two watersheds (Lake 287 and Lake 185) with contrasting hydrological regimes as a part of a larger project assessing the role of N and S cycling in soil acidification in forest ecosystems. Fifty six forest soil samples were collected from the two watersheds by horizon from 10 monitoring plots dominated by either jack pine (Pinus banksiana) or aspen (Populus tremuloides). Soils in the two watersheds were extremely to moderately acidic with pH (CaCl2) ranging from 2.83 to 4.91. Soil acid-base chemistry variables such as pH, base saturation, Al saturation, and acid-buffering capacity measured using the acetic acid equilibrium procedure indicated that soils in Lake 287 were more acidified than those in Lake 185.Acid-buffering capacity decreased in the order of forest floor > subsurface mineral soil > surface mineral soil. The most dramatic differences in percent Ca and Al saturations between the two watersheds were found in the surface mineral soil horizon. Percent Ca and Al saturation in the surface mineral soil in Lake 287 were 15% and 70%, respectively; the percent Ca saturation value fell within a critical range proposed in the literature that indicates soil acidification. Our results suggest that the soils in the two watersheds have low acid buffering capacity and would be sensitive to increased acidic deposition in the region.

  9. Monitoring mercury in freshwater fish in the oil sands region of Northern Alberta : spatial and temporal comparisons to regional mercury concentrations in fish

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) was launched to provide a better understanding of the potential effects of oil sands development on aquatic systems, and to address issues important to communities of northern Alberta, such as mercury concentrations in fish. Muskeg dewatering, deforestation, flooding, and air emissions are among the potential mercury sources entering the aquatic systems within the oil sands region. RAMP collects non-lethal tissue samples on an annual basis for mercury analysis from northern pike (Esox lucius), walleye (Sander vitreus), and lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) in various rivers and lakes within the oil sands region. The purpose is to evaluate the suitability of fisheries resources for human consumption and to evaluate the potential cumulative biological effects on fish. A mercury database was developed based on studies in other regions in Alberta and across Canada in order to provide a regional context to the RAMP monitoring results. Data points from 1975 to 2009 were mapped to evaluate spatial and temporal differences in mercury concentrations and any exceedances of subsistence and general consumption guidelines. This monitoring effort has been instrumental in determining whether changes in mercury concentrations in fish are localized to a specific waterbody or regional in nature.

  10. Oil sands development and its impact on atmospheric wet deposition of air pollutants to the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lynam, Mary M; Dvonch, J Timothy; Barres, James A; Morishita, Masako; Legge, Allan; Percy, Kevin

    2015-11-01

    Characterization of air pollutant deposition resulting from Athabasca oil sands development is necessary to assess risk to humans and the environment. To investigate this we collected event-based wet deposition during a pilot study in 2010-2012 at the AMS 6 site 30 km from the nearest upgrading facility in Fort McMurray, AB, Canada. Sulfate, nitrate and ammonium deposition was (kg/ha) 1.96, 1.60 and 1.03, respectively. Trace element pollutant deposition ranged from 2 × 10(-5) - 0.79 and exhibited the trend Hg oil sands development, urban activities and forest fires were deposited. High deposition of the elements Sr, Mn, Fe and Mg which are tracers for soil and crustal dust implies land-clearing, mining and hauling emissions greatly impacted surrounding human settlements and ecosystems. PMID:26277649

  11. Use of pre-industrial floodplain lake sediments to establish baseline river metal concentrations downstream of Alberta oil sands: a new approach for detecting pollution of rivers

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    In the Alberta oil sands region, insufficient knowledge of pre-disturbance reference conditions has undermined the ability of the Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) to detect pollution of the Athabasca River, because sampling began three decades after the industry started and the river naturally erodes oil-bearing strata. Here, we apply a novel approach to characterize pre-industrial reference metal concentrations in river sediment downstream of Alberta oil sands development by analyzing metal concentrations in sediments deposited in floodplain lakes of the Athabasca Delta during 1700–1916, when they were strongly influenced by Athabasca River floodwaters. We compared results to metal concentrations in surficial bottom sediments sampled by RAMP (2010–2013) at downstream sites of the Athabasca River and distributaries. When normalized to lithium content, concentrations of vanadium (a metal of concern in the oil sands region) and other priority pollutants (Be, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Ni, Zn) in nearly all of the RAMP river sediment samples lie below the upper 95% prediction interval linearly extrapolated from the river-derived lake sediments. Assuming the RAMP protocols obtained recently deposited sediment, this indicates that the metal concentrations in downstream Athabasca River sediment have not increased above pre-disturbance levels. Reference conditions derived from the lake sediment data were used to develop profiles of metal residual concentrations versus time for the RAMP river sediment data, which provides an excellent tool for decision-makers to identify and quantify levels of metal pollution for any given sample, and to monitor for future trends. We recommend that the approach be applied to resurrect the utility of RAMP data at other river sampling locations closer to the development, and for ongoing risk assessment. The approach is also readily transferable to other rivers where insufficient pre-disturbance reference data impairs an ability to

  12. Variation in immune function, body condition, and feather corticosterone in nestling Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) on reclaimed wetlands in the Athabasca oil sands, Alberta, Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jane Harms, N., E-mail: naomi.harms@usask.c [University of Saskatchewan, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Pathology, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5B4 (Canada); Fairhurst, Graham D., E-mail: graham.fairhurst@usask.c [University of Saskatchewan, Department of Biology, 112 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5E2 (Canada); Bortolotti, Gary R., E-mail: gary.bortolotti@usask.c [University of Saskatchewan, Department of Biology, 112 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5E2 (Canada); Smits, Judit E.G., E-mail: judit.smits@usask.c [University of Saskatchewan, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Pathology, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5B4 (Canada)

    2010-03-15

    In the Athabasca oil sands region of northern Alberta, mining companies are evaluating reclamation using constructed wetlands for integration of tailings. From May to July 2008, reproductive performance of 40 breeding pairs of tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), plus growth and survival of nestlings, was measured on three reclaimed wetlands on two oil sands leases. A subset of nestlings was examined for i) feather corticosterone levels, ii) delayed-type hypersensitivity response, and iii) innate immune function. Nestlings on one of two wetlands created with oil sands process affected material (OSPM) were heavier and had greater wing-lengths, and mounted a stronger delayed-type hypersensitivity response compared those on the reference wetland. Corticosterone was significantly higher in male nestlings on one of two OSPM-containing wetland compared to the reference wetland. Body condition of 12-day-old female nestlings was inversely related to feather corticosterone. Under ideal weather conditions, reclaimed wetlands can support healthy populations of aerially-insectivorous birds. - Under ideal weather conditions, tree swallow nestlings on reclaimed OSPM-affected wetlands are in good body condition and mount strong cell-mediated immune responses.

  13. Variation in immune function, body condition, and feather corticosterone in nestling Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) on reclaimed wetlands in the Athabasca oil sands, Alberta, Canada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    In the Athabasca oil sands region of northern Alberta, mining companies are evaluating reclamation using constructed wetlands for integration of tailings. From May to July 2008, reproductive performance of 40 breeding pairs of tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), plus growth and survival of nestlings, was measured on three reclaimed wetlands on two oil sands leases. A subset of nestlings was examined for i) feather corticosterone levels, ii) delayed-type hypersensitivity response, and iii) innate immune function. Nestlings on one of two wetlands created with oil sands process affected material (OSPM) were heavier and had greater wing-lengths, and mounted a stronger delayed-type hypersensitivity response compared those on the reference wetland. Corticosterone was significantly higher in male nestlings on one of two OSPM-containing wetland compared to the reference wetland. Body condition of 12-day-old female nestlings was inversely related to feather corticosterone. Under ideal weather conditions, reclaimed wetlands can support healthy populations of aerially-insectivorous birds. - Under ideal weather conditions, tree swallow nestlings on reclaimed OSPM-affected wetlands are in good body condition and mount strong cell-mediated immune responses.

  14. A multi-isotope approach for estimating industrial contributions to atmospheric nitrogen deposition in the Athabasca oil sands region in Alberta, Canada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Industrial nitrogen (N) emissions in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR), Alberta, Canada, affect nitrate (NO3) and ammonium (NH4) deposition rates in close vicinity of industrial emitters. NO3–N and NH4–N open field and throughfall deposition rates were determined at various sites between 3 km and 113 km distance to the main oil sand operations between May 2008 and May 2009. NO3 and NH4 were analyzed for δ15N–NO3, δ18O–NO3, Δ17O–NO3 and δ15N–NH4. Marked differences in the δ18O and Δ17O values between industrial emissions and background deposition allowed for the estimation of minimum industrial contributions to atmospheric NO3 deposition. δ15N–NH4 values also allowed for estimates of industrial contributions to atmospheric NH4 deposition. Results revealed that particularly sites within ∼30 km radius from the main oil sands developments are significantly affected by industrial contributions to atmospheric NO3 and NH4 deposition. -- Highlights: •Atmospheric NO3 and NH4 deposition rates are elevated near industrial emitters. •δ18O and Δ17O values of NO3 at high N deposition sites are isotopically distinct. •Industrial contributions to NO3 deposition are estimated using δ18O and Δ17O values. •Elevated δ15N values of NO3 and NH4 deposition indicate industrial contributions. -- Distinct δ18O, Δ17O, and δ15N values were used to estimate industrially derived N contributions to atmospheric nitrate and ammonium deposition in the Athabasca oil sands region

  15. Oil sands supply outlook

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    In March 2004, The Canadian Energy Research Institute released a report on the expected future supply from Alberta's oil sands. The report indicates that the future for the already well-established oil sands industry is promising, particularly given the outlook for oil prices. The challenges facing the industry include higher industry supply costs and the need for innovative commercial and technological solutions to address the risks of irregularities and changes in crude oil prices. In 2003, the industry produced 874 thousand barrels per day of synthetic crude oil and unprocessed crude bitumen. This represents 35 per cent of Canada's total oil production. Current production capacity has increased to 1.0 million barrels per day (mbpd) due to new projects. This number may increase to 3.5 mbpd by 2017. Some new projects may be deferred due to the higher raw bitumen and synthetic crude oil supply costs. This presentation provided supply costs for a range of oil sands recovery technologies and production projections under various business scenarios. tabs., figs

  16. Seasonal and spatial trends in production and stable isotope signatures of primary producers in Alberta oil sands reclamation wetlands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oil sands processing produces large amounts of waste water that contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and naphthenic acids (NAs). This study investigated the effects of exposure to PAHs and NA in aquatic organisms. The carbon and nitrogen dynamics in primary producers using stable isotopes in process-affected and reference wetlands were studied. Plankton and periphytic samples from artificial wetland substrates were collected and analyzed. Periphyton was collected in 14 to 20 day intervals for 5 different time periods in 2007 and 2008 in order to analyze seasonal trends in isotopic composition. Results of the study showed d15N enriched values for some consolidated tailings (CT) at sites in 2008. Other sites with mature fine tailings (MFT) as well as non-MFT sites did not have enriched d15N values. The study suggested that there are variations in ammonia levels in the CTs of different oil sands operators. Differences in the quality of the CT resulted in differences in d15N values of the periphyton-dominated by algae as well as in the periphyton dominated by microbes.

  17. Water balance and nutrient status in a reclamation research trial in the Athabasca oil sands region, Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tan, X.; Dubyk, C.; Kuzmic, F.; Martindale, D. [Shell Canada Energy, Fort McMurray, AB (Canada). Albian Sands Project

    2010-07-01

    This paper discussed a reclamation research trial undertaken in the Athabasca oils sands region to examine water balance and nutrient status in reclamation materials constructed on a northeast-facing slope. The soil covers comprise a peat-mineral mixture overlying clean tailings sand on top of a compacted base of lean soil. Water balance in terms of water runoff, interflow, water storage and evapotranspiration was evaluated by placing field instruments along the slope. For chemistry analyses, runoff and interflow water samples, rainfall, and in-situ water were collected during the growing season. A trend shown in the 5-year data was a decrease in interflow volumes since the start of monitoring. The water balance showed that roughly one-third of the precipitation was lost to runoff. The soil moisture condition remains well above the permanent wilting point during the non-frozen period. In general, the nutrients available in the reclamation system were low. As the vegetation on the slope develops further, the water status and the nutrient status will continue to be monitored. Shifts in the contribution of the different components of water balance are expected as nutrients become more available for plants to uptake.

  18. Critical loads and H+ budgets of forest soils affected by air pollution from oil sands mining in Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jung, Kangho; Chang, Scott X.; Ok, Yong Sik; Arshad, M. A.

    2013-04-01

    We investigated the critical load (CL) and exceedance (EX) of sulfur (S) deposition, temporal changes in soil chemistry, and H+ budget of soils in plots dominated by Pinus banksiana (jack pine) or Populus tremuloides (trembling aspen, aspen) in two acid-sensitive watersheds to assess the risk of soil acidification by S emissions from oil sands mining in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR), Canada. The CLs and EXs were determined by two methods: one was based on bulk deposition and the other based on total deposition (as a sum of bulk deposition and interception deposition). The CLs ranged from 223 to 711 molc ha-1 yr-1 based on bulk deposition. Those values were similar to that obtained based on total deposition. However, EXs based on bulk deposition were significantly lower (p soil acidification in the AOSR. The S deposition did not exceed CLs in the long-term for both methods. The pH in the forest floor increased and available SO (as the sum of soluble and adsorbed SO) in the forest floor and surface mineral soils increased in both jack pine and aspen stands between 2005 and 2010. The H+ budget ranged from -289 to -130 molc ha-1 yr-1 in jack pine stands and from -510 to -371 molc ha-1 yr-1 in aspen stands. Our results suggest that 1) soils in the studied forest stands have recovered from acidification based on the increasing soil pH over time and the negative H+ budget, and 2) the risk of soil acidification should be assessed by CL and EX calculated based on total deposition.

  19. 2010 oil sands performance report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2011-07-01

    With the depletion of traditional energy resources and the rising demand for energy, oil sands have become an important energy resource for meeting energy needs. Oil sands are a mixture of water, sand, clay and bitumen which is recovered either through open pit mining or in situ drilling techniques. The bitumen is then converted into syncrude or sold to refineries for the production of gasoline, diesel or other products. Shell has oil sands operations in Alberta and the aim of this report is to present its 2010 performance in terms of CO2, water, tailings, land, and reclamation and engagement. This document covers several of Shell's operations in the Muskeg River and Jackpine mines, Scotford upgrader, Peace River, Orion, Seal, Cliffdale and Chipmunk. It provides useful information on Shell's oil sands performance to governments, environmental groups, First Nations, local communities and the public.

  20. Oil sands development update

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A detailed review and update of oil sands development in Alberta are provided covering every aspect of the production and economic aspects of the industry. It is pointed out that at present oil sands account for 28 per cent of Canadian crude oil production, expected to reach 50 per cent by 2005. Based on recent announcements, a total of 26 billion dollars worth of projects are in progress or planned; 20 billion dollars worth of this development is in the Athabasca area, the remainder in Cold Lake and other areas. The current update envisages up to 1,800,000 barrels per day by 2008, creating 47,000 new jobs and total government revenues through direct and indirect taxes of 118 billion dollars. Provinces other than Alberta also benefit from these development, since 60 per cent of all employment and income created by oil sands production is in other parts of Canada. Up to 60 per cent of the expansion is for goods and services and of this, 50 to 55 per cent will be purchased from Canadian sources. The remaining 40 per cent of the new investment is for engineering and construction of which 95 per cent is Canadian content. Aboriginal workforce by common consent of existing operators matches regional representation (about 13 per cent), and new developers are expected to match these standards. Planned or ongoing development in environmental protection through improved technologies and optimization, energy efficiency and improved tailings management, and active support of flexibility mechanisms such as emission credits trading, joint implementation and carbon sinks are very high on the industry's agenda. The importance of offsets are discussed extensively along with key considerations for international negotiations, as well as further research of other options such as sequestration, environmentally benign disposal of waste, and enhanced voluntary action

  1. Distribution of Total Dissolved Solids in McMurray Formation Water in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada: Implications for Oil Sands Mining and In Situ Resource Development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cowie, B.; Mayer, B.

    2013-12-01

    Saline water management is a significant environmental challenge for mining and in-situ resource development in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR), Alberta, Canada. In the AOSR, the Cretaceous aged McMurray formation that bears the majority of the oil sands resources is underlain by saline Devonian formations containing saline water. Vertical connectivity between Devonian and Cretaceous aquifer systems has been uncovered by mining operations in the AOSR over the past several years, inducing occasional and local saline water flow into mining areas. The observed upward flow of groundwater from Devonian to Cretaceous systems necessitates detailed characterization of the spatial extent of high salinity formation waters to improve water management decisions in the AOSR. This study used published data from recent government reports and Environmental Impact Assessments to map total dissolved solids (TDS) of 355 McMurray formation water samples across the Athabasca oil sands region (54 to 58° N and 110 to 114° W). McMurray formation waters varied from non-saline (TDS 100 000 mg/L) with a locally high salinity formation waters trending parallel to the dissolution edge of the Devonian-aged Prairie evaporite formation across the AOSR. The simplest hydrogeological explanation for the observed formation water salinity data is that Devonian aquifers are locally connected to the McMurray formation via conduits in the sub-Cretaceous karst system in the region overlying the partial dissolution edge of the Prairie evaporite formation. The driving force for upward formation water flow was provided by the Pleistocene glaciation events that reversed the regional flow system in the Devonian strata over the past 2 Ma. This study demonstrates that a detailed approach to hydrogeological assessment is required to elucidate total dissolved solids concentrations in McMurray formation waters at an individual lease-area scale, and to manage potential impacts from high salinity formation

  2. A conceptual system for assigning sensitivities to potentially acidifying inputs to soils in the oil sands region of Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Concerns have been raised about the possible cumulative effects on the boreal ecosystem of potentially acidifying inputs released in the region because of the proliferation of active, approved and planned oil sand developments. A concern is the sensitivities of the various organic and mineral soils in the area to continued acidifying inputs. The development of an approach for assigning relative sensitivity classes of low, moderate and high to regional soils is outlined, and the results of applying the method to a particular emissions scenario are illustrated. Because the method is qualitative only, its greatest use consists in indicating which soils have the greatest potential susceptibility to acidification, both with respect to specific soil series and geographical location: the soils so identified might be candidates for inclusion in future monitoring programs. The approach requires verification and refinement by ongoing field work and sensitivity modelling to enhance the level of confidence in its accuracy. Given the spatial extent, relative inaccessibility, and limited soil data available for the boreal forest, an empirical rating system of this kind offers the most practical tool for determining the potential impacts of emissions in the area. (Abstract only)

  3. Monitoring of volatile organic hydrocarbon and reduced sulphur compound fugitive emissions from an oil sands recovery facility in Northern Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Syncrude Canada is the largest oil sands recovery and upgrading facility in the world. Activities such as mining, extraction, upgrading and waste discharge into large holding ponds provides the potential for substantial fugitive emissions of volatile organic hydrocarbons and reduced sulphur compounds. A detailed study was performed during worst case conditions to evaluate the incremental downwind concentrations potentially arising from site activities. Flux monitoring was coupled with mass transfer modeling and upwind/downwind profiling to evaluate the emission rates from specific sources. Site export due to fugitive sources was measured to be ca. 600 g/s for VOC and 1.9 g/s for H2S. Significant emissions of other reduced sulphur compounds were also found. The main tailings pond (22 sq km) was found to be the major emitter for both classes of compounds. Dispersion modeling using on site meteorological information measured during the study period was coupled with an area source dispersion model to evaluate concentrations at a point 5 km outside the plant boundary, representing the nearest residential community. Concentrations predicted (and measured) for VOCs and reduced sulphur compounds were at low μg/m3 and ng/m3 levels, respectively

  4. Modeling and mapping the effects of heat and pressure outside a SAGD steam chamber using time-lapse multicomponent seismic data, Athabasca oil sands, Alberta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeigler, Loren Michelle

    The field of study is a bitumen producing reservoir within the McMurray Formation. The deposit is a part of the Athabasca oil sands trend in Northeastern Alberta, Canada. This field contains 16 well pads that are, combined, producing more than 41,000 BOPD. Bitumen reservoirs are unique as a result of their high viscosity, low API gravity oil. This oil in this field has been produced by means of a method called Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), since 2007. In this method, two vertically stacked, horizontal wells are drilled. The upper well injects high temperature, high pressure steam and as the viscosity of the bitumen decreases it will begin to flow, via gravity, down to the lower producing well. Reservoir monitoring in this field is very important for multiple reasons, including the shallow depth and the large velocity changes that result from SAGD production. In order to map these changes, time-lapse multicomponent data were incorporated with rock physics modeling in order to map and interpret changes in Vp/Vs with production. When fluid substitution results and pressure estimations are combined, the resulting velocities are consistent with the core sample modeling done by Kato et al. (2008). These results were then compared with the seismic data in order to identify areas affected by steam, heat, and pressure within the reservoir through time-lapse Vp/Vs. PP time-lapse results show the location of the steam chamber within the reservoir, however these data do not give any information about the effects of pressure or heat. Converted-wave (PS) data can be used to image pressure and viscosity changes in the reservoir. When these data are combined into a Vp/Vs volume, the effects of steam, heat and pressure can be identified. Vp/Vs areas of little to no difference indicate steamed zones while the surrounding areas with large differences indicate heated and pressured zones.

  5. Vertical Profiles of SO2 and NO2 in the Alberta Oil Sands: MAX-DOAS Measurements and Comparison to in-situ Instrumentation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, Zoe; Lobo, Akshay; McLaren, Robert

    2015-04-01

    Understanding the levels of industrially emitted gas pollutants in the Alberta oil sands is essential to making quality environmental management decisions but is currently limited due to scarcity of top-down quantification studies. Multi-Axis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) measurements of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) , important tropospheric trace gas pollutants, contributes to improved knowledge of these pollutants' levels, vertical distributions and chemical transformations. A mini-MAX-DOAS instrument measured spectra at multiple viewing elevation angles in order to retrieve NO2 and SO2 differential slant column densities (dSCDs) at an Environment Canada research site north of Fort McMurray, Alberta in the fall of 2013. For the first time in the oil sands, tropospheric vertical profiles of NO2 and SO2 were retrieved by applying the optimal estimation technique to the MAX-DOAS measurements. The DOAS fit retrievals of SO2 dSCDs were validated by comparison with retrievals obtained with a quartz calibration cell with known SO2 SCD placed in front of the MAX-DOAS telescope at multiple elevation angles on a clean day. Retrieved SO2 dSCDs varied significantly from the true value depending on the chosen wavelength fitting interval. At the lowest wavelength intervals, interference by stray light and O3 differential structures significantly reduced dSCDs and caused an elevation angle dependence. These results indicate that MAX-DOAS dSCD retrieval settings, particularly for weak absorbers with differential absorption structures in low-intensity spectral regions, must be chosen carefully in order to achieve the most accurate results. Tropospheric vertical column densities (VCDs) and vertical profile retrievals of NO2, SO2 and aerosol extinction during significant pollution events will be illustrated. Trace gas vertical profiles exhibited significant variability between days and at different times of day and were often spatially

  6. Oil sands tailings management project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Oil sands leadership initiative (OSLI) works with the Government of Alberta on the development of the oil sands industry, considering environmental, economical and social aspects. Water management was identified as one of most important areas to focus on. Alberta WaterSMART was requested to support the development and the management of projects resulting from the work done or underway in this field. The development of a regional water management solution stood out as the most interesting solution to obtain significant results. In the Athabasca Region, oil sands producers work independently on their water sourcing and disposal with particular attention to fresh water conservation and economics. The Athabasca River represents a source for mines and distant saline aquifers are the target of steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operators. As part of a four-phase project aiming to study the environmental and economic footprint (EEF) benefit of alternatives for Athabasca oil sands production water supply and disposal, the purpose of the tailings water management project was to identify tailings treatment technologies that are ready to be implemented, and to design and evaluate solutions in order to improve regional oil sands production water sourcing and disposal. Alternatives were evaluated based on their total EEF, applying a lifecycle assessment methodology with a particular attention on the quantification of important performance indicators. 25 refs., 8 tabs., 40 figs.

  7. Oil sands tailings management project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Godwalt, C. [Alberta WaterSMART, Calgary, AB (Canada); Kotecha, P. [Suncor Energy Inc, Calgary, AB (Canada); Aumann, C. [Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures, Alberta Governement, AB (Canada)

    2010-11-15

    The Oil sands leadership initiative (OSLI) works with the Government of Alberta on the development of the oil sands industry, considering environmental, economical and social aspects. Water management was identified as one of most important areas to focus on. Alberta WaterSMART was requested to support the development and the management of projects resulting from the work done or underway in this field. The development of a regional water management solution stood out as the most interesting solution to obtain significant results. In the Athabasca Region, oil sands producers work independently on their water sourcing and disposal with particular attention to fresh water conservation and economics. The Athabasca River represents a source for mines and distant saline aquifers are the target of steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operators. As part of a four-phase project aiming to study the environmental and economic footprint (EEF) benefit of alternatives for Athabasca oil sands production water supply and disposal, the purpose of the tailings water management project was to identify tailings treatment technologies that are ready to be implemented, and to design and evaluate solutions in order to improve regional oil sands production water sourcing and disposal. Alternatives were evaluated based on their total EEF, applying a lifecycle assessment methodology with a particular attention on the quantification of important performance indicators. 25 refs., 8 tabs., 40 figs.

  8. Characterization of trace gases measured over Alberta oil sands mining operations: 76 speciated C2–C10 volatile organic compounds (VOCs, CO2, CH4, CO, NO, NO2, NOy, O3 and SO2

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. J. Weinheimer

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Oil sands comprise 30% of the world's oil reserves and the crude oil reserves in Canada's oil sands deposits are second only to Saudi Arabia. The extraction and processing of oil sands is much more challenging than for light sweet crude oils because of the high viscosity of the bitumen contained within the oil sands and because the bitumen is mixed with sand and contains chemical impurities such as sulphur. Despite these challenges, the importance of oil sands is increasing in the energy market. To our best knowledge this is the first peer-reviewed study to characterize volatile organic compounds (VOCs emitted from Alberta's oil sands mining sites. We present high-precision gas chromatography measurements of 76 speciated C2–C10 VOCs (alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, cycloalkanes, aromatics, monoterpenes, oxygenates, halocarbons, and sulphur compounds in 17 boundary layer air samples collected over surface mining operations in northeast Alberta on 10 July 2008, using the NASA DC-8 airborne laboratory as a research platform. In addition to the VOCs, we present simultaneous measurements of CO2, CH4, CO, NO, NO2, NOy, O3 and SO2, which were measured in situ aboard the DC-8. Methane, CO, CO2, NO, NO2, NOy, SO2 and 53 VOCs (e.g., halocarbons, sulphur species, NMHCs showed clear statistical enhancements (up to 1.1–397× over the oil sands compared to local background values and, with the exception of CO, were higher over the oil sands than at any other time during the flight. Twenty halocarbons (e.g., CFCs, HFCs, halons, brominated species either were not enhanced or were minimally enhanced (4–C9 alkanes, C5–C6 cycloalkanes, C6–C8 aromatics, together with CO; and (2 emissions associated with the mining effort (i.e., CO2, CO, CH4, NO, NO2, NOy, SO2, C2–C4 alkanes, C2–C4 alkenes, C9 aromatics, short-lived solvents such as C2Cl4 and C2HCl3, and longer-lived species such as HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b. Prominent in the second group, SO2 and NO were

  9. Alberta oil sands community exposure and health effects assessment : analysis of health records as a proxy for health outcomes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A large scale study was conducted to assess potential links between air quality and human health outcomes. Health records were used as a proxy measure for health outcomes. Residents of Fort McMurray and Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada were used in the comparison of risks of selected morbidity and mortality measures during a 3 year period between 1995 and 1998. Data on the socio-demography, morbidity, and mortality were linked by PI and geographic area from the Health Care Insurance Plan, physical and hospital billing systems, and vital statistics death registration. Age was the most important confounder. Asthma incidence for children 3 years or less was examined along with prevalence and mortality of selected diseases for each sex and age group. Results showed that the incidence of asthma varied by age and sex but not by study area. There was no major difference in death from lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, respiratory disorders and COPD between residents of the target and control communities. 6 figs

  10. Development and testing of an index of biotic integrity based on submersed and floating vegetation and its application to assess reclamation wetlands in Alberta's oil sands area, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rooney, Rebecca C; Bayley, Suzanne E

    2012-01-01

    We developed and tested a plant-based index of biological integrity (IBI) and used it to evaluate the existing reclamation wetlands in Alberta's oil sands mining region. Reclamation plans call for >15,000 ha of wetlands to be constructed, but currently, only about 25 wetlands are of suitable age for evaluation. Reclamation wetlands are typically of the shallow open water type and range from fresh to sub-saline. Tailings-contaminated wetlands in particular may have problems with hydrocarbon- and salt-related toxicity. From 60 initial candidate metrics in the submersed aquatic and floating vegetation communities, we selected five to quantify biological integrity. The IBI included two diversity-based metrics: the species richness of floating vegetation and the percent of total richness contributed by Potamogeton spp. It also included three relative abundance-based metrics: that of Ceratophyllum demersum, of floating leafed species and of alkali-tolerant species. We evaluated the contribution of nonlinear metrics to IBI performance but concluded that the correlation between IBI scores and wetland condition was not improved. The method used to score metrics had an influence on the IBI sensitivity. We conclude that continuous scoring relative to the distribution of values found in reference sites was superior. This scoring approach provided good sensitivity and resolution and was grounded in reference condition theory. Based on these IBI scores, both tailings-contaminated and tailings-free reclamation wetlands have significantly lower average biological integrity than reference wetlands (ANOVA: F(2,59) = 34.7, p = 0.000000000107). PMID:21484300

  11. Modelling Effects of Cover Material and Cover Depth on Hydrological Regime and Salt Redistribution in Reclaimed Oil Sand Landscapes in Northern Alberta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Welegedara, N.; Grant, R. F.; Quideau, S.; Lloret, E.

    2014-12-01

    Large-Scale surface mining is continuing in the Athabasca oil sands region in northern Alberta, Canada, causing significant ecosystem disturbances and changes in hydrology. Reclamation efforts in this region require understanding processes that control water, nutrient and salt fluxes through reclaimed landscapes which is critical to restoring their productivity. These processes were tested in a comprehensive mathematical model, ecosys, which was used to determine the effect of different cover thicknesses on water balance, water buffering capacity, salinity and the productivity in the South Bison Hills reclamation site of Syncrude Canada (SCL). This site was constructed in 1999 by capping peat mineral mix and secondary (glacial till) soil over saline sodic overburden. The site was constructed with three different soil cover thicknesses: 35 cm (thin), 50 cm (intermediate) and 100 cm (thick) along a 20% north facing slope. Model outputs were validated with field measured volumetric water content, runoff, snow data, electrical conductivity (EC) and plant productivity data recorded from 1999 to 2013. Model and field results show differences in horizontal and vertical water transport among the three reclaimed prototype covers. Lower water retention capacity in the 35 cm cover compared to the 50 cm and 100 cm covers caused greater soil moisture variation so that permanent wilting point was reached during dry years, decreasing plant growth due to water stress. In addition, the modeled and field-measured EC values indicated some upward salt movement from overburden to cover material over the time. This movement caused higher EC values (6 - 8 dS m-1) to be reached in the shallow rooting zone of the 35 cm and 50 cm covers than of the 100 cm cover several years after the covers were established. The determination of cost effective but ecologically sustainable cover depth is a challenge and will be a focus in future simulations.

  12. Characterization of trace gases measured over Alberta oil sands mining operations: 76 speciated C2-C10 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), CO2, CH4, CO, NO, NO2, NOy, O3 and SO2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simpson, I. J.; Blake, N. J.; Barletta, B.; Diskin, G. S.; Fuelberg, H. E.; Gorham, K.; Huey, L. G.; Meinardi, S.; Rowland, F. S.; Vay, S. A.; Weinheimer, A. J.; Yang, M.; Blake, D. R.

    2010-12-01

    Oil sands comprise 30% of the world's oil reserves and the crude oil reserves in Canada's oil sands deposits are second only to Saudi Arabia. The extraction and processing of oil sands is much more challenging than for light sweet crude oils because of the high viscosity of the bitumen contained within the oil sands and because the bitumen is mixed with sand and contains chemical impurities such as sulphur. Despite these challenges, the importance of oil sands is increasing in the energy market. To our best knowledge this is the first peer-reviewed study to characterize volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from Alberta's oil sands mining sites. We present high-precision gas chromatography measurements of 76 speciated C2-C10 VOCs (alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, cycloalkanes, aromatics, monoterpenes, oxygenated hydrocarbons, halocarbons and sulphur compounds) in 17 boundary layer air samples collected over surface mining operations in northeast Alberta on 10 July 2008, using the NASA DC-8 airborne laboratory as a research platform. In addition to the VOCs, we present simultaneous measurements of CO2, CH4, CO, NO, NO2, NOy, O3 and SO2, which were measured in situ aboard the DC-8. Carbon dioxide, CH4, CO, NO, NO2, NOy, SO2 and 53 VOCs (e.g., non-methane hydrocarbons, halocarbons, sulphur species) showed clear statistical enhancements (1.1-397×) over the oil sands compared to local background values and, with the exception of CO, were greater over the oil sands than at any other time during the flight. Twenty halocarbons (e.g., CFCs, HFCs, halons, brominated species) either were not enhanced or were minimally enhanced (local background, respectively. These SO2 levels are comparable to maximum values measured in heavily polluted megacities such as Mexico City and are attributed to coke combustion. By contrast, relatively poor correlations between CH4, ethane and propane suggest low levels of natural gas leakage despite its heavy use at the surface mining sites. Instead

  13. Boron in tree-ring as an indicator of forest disturbances in the Lower Athabasca Oil Sands region, Northeastern Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bégin, Christian; Savard, Martine M.; Marion, Joëlle; Thiffault, Évelyne; Pinno, Brad

    2016-04-01

    Industrial activities related to oil sands (OS) extraction in northeastern Alberta (Canada) have generated, since 1967, important quantities of NOx and SO2 emissions that can lead to several negative effects on forest ecosystems including the potential for soil acidification. In addition, mining processes, tailing pond treatments and heavy transport (haul roads) in mining areas are considered important sources of air contaminants that have the potential to impair forest health by affecting the nutrient balance and physiology of trees. In this study, we analysed micronutrients (B, Fe, Zn, Na, Cu) and macronutrients (Ca, Mg, Mn, K) in the tree-ring series of jack pine (Pinus banksiana) and spruce (Picea glauca and Picea mariana) trees growing at different distances from the heart of mining operations (two sites for each species). Based on tree-ring records, our aims were to provide a historical perspective on the nutritional status of forest ecosystems and to identify temporal changes in tree-ring chemistry that can be attributed to OS activities. One of the key findings of this research is the direct and immediate response of boron (B) in woody tissues of all studied species to mining operations. During the pre-mining period (prior to 1967) [B] variations in tree-rings of the three species covary with other elements such as Na and Fe and are likely controlled by environmental factors, namely climatic conditions. After 1970, [B] increases and strongly departs from trends of other elements. In jack pine trees (54 km NNE of the centre of industrial operations) the increasing trend is abrupt with mean [B] increasing from 11.7 mg/kg during the pre-industrial period to 14.3 mg/kg during mining period. In spruce trees at the proximal site (14 km NE), [B] increases gradually and nicely reproduces the historical pattern of industrial emissions with mean pre-mining [B] of 29.5 mg/kg increasing to 92.1 mg/kg during the mining period. At the four spruce sites, the increasing

  14. Oil sands opportunities for midstream companies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The potential of Alberta's oil sands industry was reviewed. Oil sands production is expected to surpass declining conventional production. It was suggested that oil sands will increase from 42 per cent of Western supply in 2002 to 78 per cent in 2015. An inventory of major oil sands products and sources was presented and upgrading issues were examined. Oil sands products and market outlets were reviewed. Issues concerning the expansion of the value chain from resource to finished product were discussed. It was suggested that the U.S. will require more refined product imports in the future. Various market challenges facing the oil sands processing industries were discussed, including issues concerning producers, refiners and the common market. Potential refined products export markets were examined. Upgrading for both upstream and downstream refineries was discussed. A recent study completed for the Alberta Government and industry was reviewed. It was noted that pipeline changes or expansions need to be configured to accommodate refined products and that a large volume of exports to the Midwest or California markets would be based on pipeline availability. Issues concerning services to large oil sands projects were reviewed. It was concluded that there is significant growth in oil sands, with enormous capital requirements. There are many opportunities for mid streamers to take on smaller portions of large projects. refs., tabs., figs

  15. Developing new markets for oil sands products

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This paper presents a review by Purvin and Gertz of western Canadian crude oil supply. This energy consulting firm provides advise to the energy sector. It suggests that oil sands production will surpass declining conventional production. Oil sands supply includes bitumen, synthetic crude oil (SCO), and diluent. It is forecasted that oil sands will increase from 42 per cent of western supply in 2002 to 78 per cent in 2015. The potential of Alberta's oil sands was discussed along with a recent study of refined products and petrochemicals from bitumen. Upgrading, refining and petrochemical case studies were presented. The author examined if a Canadian oil sands upgrading project with high capital costs can be competitive with competing projects in the United States and internationally. In addition to supply and demand issues, the presentation examined infrastructure capability and market potential in the United States. The economic potential and risks of preferred business cases compared to upgrading to SCO were also evaluated. 15 figs

  16. Isotopic characterization of nitrate, ammonium and sulfate in stack PM2.5 emissions in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Proemse, Bernadette C.; Mayer, Bernhard; Chow, Judith C.; Watson, John G.

    2012-12-01

    Stable isotope techniques may be a suitable tool for tracing industrial emissions in the atmosphere and the environment provided that the isotopic compositions of industrial emissions are distinct. We determined the isotopic compositions of nitrate, ammonium and sulfate in PM2.5 emitted from two industrial stacks at a large upgrader site in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR), northeastern Alberta, Canada, and compared them to the nitrogen and sulfur isotopic compositions of source materials and upgrading by-products. We found distinct isotopic compositions of nitrate and ammonium in PM2.5 compared to those reported for atmospheric nitrate and ammonium in the literature. Nitrate in PM2.5 had δ15N values of 9.4‰ (Stack A) and 16.1 ± 1.2‰ (Stack B) that were significantly enriched in 15N compared to the feedstock materials (˜2.5‰), by-products of upgrading (-0.3-1.3‰), and atmospheric N2 (0‰). δ15N of ammonium in PM2.5 showed a large range with values between - 4.5 to +20.1‰ (Stack B). We report the first measurements of the triple oxygen isotopic composition of industrial emitted nitrate. Nitrate emitted as PM2.5 is not mass-independently enriched in 17O resulting in Δ17O = 0.5 ± 0.9‰ (Stack B) and is therefore distinct from atmospheric nitrate, constituting an excellent indicator of industrial derived nitrate. δ18O values of nitrate in PM2.5 (36.0 and 17.6 ± 1.8‰ for Stack A and B, respectively) were also significantly lower than δ18O values of atmospheric nitrates and hence isotopically distinct. δ34S values of sulfate in PM2.5 were with 7.3 ± 0.3‰ (Stack A) and 9.4 ± 2.0‰ (Stack B) slightly enriched in 34S compared to δ34S in bitumen (4.3 ± 0.3‰) and coke (3.9 ± 0.2‰). δ18O values of sulfate in PM2.5 were 18.9 ± 2.9‰ and 14.2 ± 2.8‰ for Stack A and Stack B, respectively. The isotopic composition of sulfate in PM2.5 was not sufficiently different from δ34S and δ18O values of sulfate in long-range atmospheric

  17. Inter-comparison of MAX-DOAS Retrieved Vertical Profiles of Aerosol Extinction, SO2 and NO2 in the Alberta Oil Sands with LIDAR Data and GEM-MACH Air Quality Model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, Zoe; Friess, Udo; Strawbridge, Kevin; Whiteway, James; Aggarwal, Monika; Makar, Paul; Li, Shao-Meng; O'Brien, Jason; Baray, Sabour; Schnitzler, Elijah; Olfert, Jason S.; Osthoff, Hans D.; Lobo, Akshay; McLaren, Robert

    2016-04-01

    Understanding industrial emissions of trace gas pollutants in the Alberta oil sands is essential to maintaining air quality standards and informing public policy. Multi-Axis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) measurements of trace gases can improve knowledge of pollutant levels, vertical distribution and chemical transformation. During an intensive air measurement campaign to study emissions, transport, transformation and deposition of oil sands air pollutants from August to September of 2013, a MAX-DOAS instrument was deployed at a site north of Fort McMurray, Alberta to determine the vertical profiles of aerosol extinction, NO2 and SO2 through retrieval from the MAX-DOAS spectral measurements using an optimal estimation method. The large complement of data collected from multiple instruments deployed during this field campaign provides a unique opportunity to validate and characterize the performance of the MAX-DOAS vertical profile retrievals. Aerosol extinction profiles determined from two Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) instruments, one collocated and the other on a Twin Otter aircraft that flew over the site during the study, will be compared to the MAX-DOAS aerosol extinction profile retrievals. Vertical profiles of NO2 and SO2 retrieved from the MAX-DOAS measurements will be further compared with the composite vertical profiles measured from the flights of a second aircraft, the NRC-Convair 580, over the field site during the same measurement period. Finally, the MAX-DOAS retrieved tropospheric vertical column densities (VCDs) of SO2 and NO2 will be compared to the predicted VCDs from Environment and Climate Change Canada's Global Environmental Multi-scale - Modelling Air quality and Chemistry (GEM-MACH) air quality model over the grid cell containing the field site. Emission estimates of SO2 from the major oil mining facility Syncrude Mildred Lake using the MAX-DOAS VCD results, validated through the detailed characterization above

  18. Growing markets to sustain oil sands development

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The utilization of Alberta bitumen for the clean fuels market depends on upgrading, transportation, and refining processes. Forecasts show that oil sands production, which includes synthetic crude oil (SCO), will surpass declining conventional production in Western Canada. Several issues pose a challenge to the oil sands processing industry. The producers' market is affected by crude oil prices, market expansion options, diluent availability/cost, supply cost competitiveness, and regional processing. The common market issues include light/heavy crude prices, oil sands crude qualities, prices of oil sands crudes, pipeline infrastructure, and competitive supplies. The issues facing the refiners are: refining margins, security of crude supply, refined product quality, and competitive product supply. A brief review of markets for Canadian crude oil, including synthetic crude, was provided. The share of the Midwest market by Alberta must be retained and increased. The market expansion options were reviewed for both downstream (refining) and upstream (upgrading) operations. To reach more distant markets such as Southern Midwest, Washington, and California, new pipeline capacity would be required. The market is nearly saturated for Canada's heavy oil supply. More upgrading will be required as bitumen production increases. Market growth is still possible for Canada's SCO but according to forecasts, the market could also become saturated. To increase demand and allow supplies to grow, SCO prices may fall below light crude prices. It was noted that a balance must be achieved in order for producers to increase production and for refiner/upgraders to expand their conversion capacity. tabs., figs

  19. Nuclear energy in the oils sands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Arsenault, J.E.

    2014-09-15

    The major Canadian oil sands are located in Alberta and Saskatchewan, with most production from the strata along the Athabasca River in Alberta. The economically recoverable oil sands reserves are estimated to be 168 billion barrels which at a current production rate of 1.8 million barrels per day (2012), are projected to last a very long time. Canada has been blessed with vast energy resources which make it potentially energy-independent and able to provide significant exports but there are concerns that their development cannot be managed in a wholly acceptable manner. Comparable concerns have been applied to nuclear energy in the past and in recent times to the oil sands. The technologies associated with these energy sources have always been controversial because they are at the confluence of economics and politics where finding a balance between risk and reward is difficult. So it should be no surprise that when these technologies get linked together in certain proposals their prospect for success is doubly difficult. The possible use of nuclear energy for production of oil from the oil sands dates back to the late 1950s, when an experiment to mine the oil by detonating an underground nuclear device was proposed. It was predicted that the heat and pressure released from such a device would create a large cavern into which oil would flow, and from where it would be pumped to the surface. Almost at the same time, oil sands research using conventional sources of energy had culminated with the development of practical refining processes, essentially those still in use today. These methods require large amounts of heat energy in the form of hot water and steam. In this century nuclear energy was proposed as the source for the heat required by the oil sands production processes. To date neither of these nuclear proposals for oil sands projects have been successful, because the economic and political balance could not be struck. (author)

  20. Nuclear energy in the oils sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The major Canadian oil sands are located in Alberta and Saskatchewan, with most production from the strata along the Athabasca River in Alberta. The economically recoverable oil sands reserves are estimated to be 168 billion barrels which at a current production rate of 1.8 million barrels per day (2012), are projected to last a very long time. Canada has been blessed with vast energy resources which make it potentially energy-independent and able to provide significant exports but there are concerns that their development cannot be managed in a wholly acceptable manner. Comparable concerns have been applied to nuclear energy in the past and in recent times to the oil sands. The technologies associated with these energy sources have always been controversial because they are at the confluence of economics and politics where finding a balance between risk and reward is difficult. So it should be no surprise that when these technologies get linked together in certain proposals their prospect for success is doubly difficult. The possible use of nuclear energy for production of oil from the oil sands dates back to the late 1950s, when an experiment to mine the oil by detonating an underground nuclear device was proposed. It was predicted that the heat and pressure released from such a device would create a large cavern into which oil would flow, and from where it would be pumped to the surface. Almost at the same time, oil sands research using conventional sources of energy had culminated with the development of practical refining processes, essentially those still in use today. These methods require large amounts of heat energy in the form of hot water and steam. In this century nuclear energy was proposed as the source for the heat required by the oil sands production processes. To date neither of these nuclear proposals for oil sands projects have been successful, because the economic and political balance could not be struck. (author)

  1. Market opportunities and challenges for oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The use of Alberta bitumen as a clean fuel depends on upgrading, transportation, and refining processes. Forecasts show that oil sands production, which includes synthetic crude oil (SCO), will surpass declining conventional production from the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. The challenges facing the oils sands processing industry include: crude oil prices which affect the producer's market; market expansion options; diluent availability/cost; supply cost competitiveness; and, regional processing. The common market issues include light/heavy crude prices, oil sands crude qualities, prices of oil sands crudes, pipeline infrastructure, and competitive supplies. The issues facing the refiners are: refining margins, security of crude supply, refined product quality, and competitive product supply. It was noted that Alberta must retain or increase its share of the Midwest market. The market expansion options were reviewed for both downstream (refining) and upstream (upgrading) operations. New pipeline capacity is needed to reach more distant markets such as Southern Midwest, Washington, and California. The market is nearly saturated for Canada's heavy oil supply. More upgrading will be required as bitumen production increases. Market growth is still possible for Canada's SCO but according to forecasts, the market could also become saturated. To increase demand and allow supplies to grow, SCO prices may fall below light crude prices. It was noted that a balance must be achieved in order for producers to increase production and for refiner/upgraders to expand their conversion capacity. 13 figs

  2. Oil sand synfuel production using nuclear energy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The importance of oil sand as a primary energy carrier is illustrated. The oil sand mining project 'synfuel' in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, is described. On the basis of a layout of an In-situ-process different possibilities of introducing nuclear energy to the process are described. This leads to an increase of the product yield, leading finally to a doubling of the energy output compared to the reference layout. The introduction of nuclear energy contributes to the reduction of emissions, in particular to the emission of carbon dioxide in the conversion process. (orig.)

  3. [Imperial Oil's Cold Lake oil sands operations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Imperial Oil Limited's Cold Lake oil sands resources, production and operations in Alberta are discussed. Cold Lake is the company's largest single asset and its largest source of crude oil production. In 1998, Cold Lake accounted for just under half of Imperial's total liquid production, averaging more than 135,000 barrels of bitumen a day. Despite the very difficult operating conditions experienced by the oil sands industry in 1998, Imperial Oil's Cold Lake operations generated a positive cash flow and earnings. Just as important, the near and long-term potential of Cold Lake property continues to be strong, even with the tough market conditions today and the foreseeable future. Proved reserves at the end of 1997 were 1.3 billions barrels, equal to about 24 years of current production, but even more important is Imperial's resource base in the Athabasca region, which represents 150 years of production at current rates. Although production forecasts for the near future are are revised downward because of production shut-in due to low prices, the company is confident of its long-term prospects mainly because of existing infrastructure, superior reservoir quality, 30 years worth of operating improvements and established bitumen-blend markets. Details of the company's future Cold Lake development plans are discussed. The need to continue technology development, which has been at the core of the industry's growth in the past and will continue to be the key to the future, are emphasized

  4. Photochemical model evaluation of the ground-level ozone impacts on ambient air quality and vegetation health in the Alberta oil sands region: Using present and future emission scenarios

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vijayaraghavan, Krish; Cho, Sunny; Morris, Ralph; Spink, David; Jung, Jaegun; Pauls, Ron; Duffett, Katherine

    2016-09-01

    One of the potential environmental issues associated with oil sands development is increased ozone formation resulting from NOX and volatile organic compound emissions from bitumen extraction, processing and upgrading. To manage this issue in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) in northeast Alberta, a regional multi-stakeholder group, the Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA), developed an Ozone Management Framework that includes a modelling based assessment component. In this paper, we describe how the Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model was applied to assess potential ground-level ozone formation and impacts on ambient air quality and vegetation health for three different ozone precursor cases in the AOSR. Statistical analysis methods were applied, and the CMAQ performance results met the U.S. EPA model performance goal at all sites. The modelled 4th highest daily maximum 8-h average ozone concentrations in the base and two future year scenarios did not exceed the Canada-wide standard of 65 ppb or the newer Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards of 63 ppb in 2015 and 62 ppb in 2020. Modelled maximum 1-h ozone concentrations in the study were well below the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objective of 82 ppb in all three cases. Several ozone vegetation exposure metrics were also evaluated to investigate the potential impact of ground-level ozone on vegetation. The chronic 3-months SUM60 exposure metric is within the CEMA baseline range (0-2000 ppb-hr) everywhere in the AOSR. The AOT40 ozone exposure metric predicted by CMAQ did not exceed the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) threshold of concern of 3000 ppb-hr in any of the cases but is just below the threshold in high-end future emissions scenario. In all three emission scenarios, the CMAQ predicted W126 ozone exposure metric is within the CEMA baseline threshold of 4000 ppb-hr. This study outlines the use of photochemical modelling of the impact of an industry (oil

  5. Petrophysical Analysis of Oil Sand in Athabasca

    Science.gov (United States)

    cheong, S.; Lee, H.

    2013-12-01

    Oil sands are the major unconventional energy sources which have great reserves in Alberta, Canada. Recovery techniques such as CSS (Cyclic Steam Stimulation) and SAGD (Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage) enabled to develop deeper bitumen about several hundred meter depth. Before applying CSS and SAGD, reservoir heterogeneity of mud barriers or shale breccias should be clarified to establish injection and production wells successfully. We conducted the integrated petro-physical analysis for oil sands deposits in Athabasca by correlating well logs with seismic data. From 33 well logs and 3D seismic, we have made P-wave impedance by recursive inversion. Target formations of our analysis were the top of Wabiskaw member. Using inverted impedance and multi-attributes, porosity volume was derived at a target depth. Porosity of time slice 375 ms ranged 20 ~ 40 % stretching porous sand body from NE to SW direction. Characteristics of porosity distribution may be useful to design optimum oil sands recovery in Athabasca.

  6. Bison and the oil sands industry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The feasibility of raising bison on land reclaimed after disturbance by oil sands development was explored. A five-year research program by Syncrude Canada and the Fort McKay First Nations found that forage productivity and carrying capacity for bison was comparable to that of grassland elsewhere in Alberta. Weight gains typical for ranched bison and calving rates of 90 per cent, a value typical of ranched bison, were observed. Analysis indicated that a 1000 hectare bison ranch on reclaimed land has a net present value that compares favorably with a similar area supporting commercial forest. If approved by Alberta Environmental Protection, the study will be expanded as a pilot commercial venture to explore commercial viability as a business venture by the Fort McKay First Nations. Assuming that the project will proceed as planned, measures will be also implemented to resolve various regulatory issues associated with commercial bison production in the oil sands area

  7. Oil sands tax expenditures

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The oil sands are a strategic Canadian resource for which federal and provincial governments provide financial incentives to develop and exploit. This report describes the Oil Sands Tax Expenditure Model (OSTEM) developed to estimate the size of the federal income tax expenditure attributed to the oil sands industry. Tax expenditures are tax concessions which are used as alternatives to direct government spending for achieving government policy objectives. The OSTEM was developed within the business Income Tax Division of Canada's Department of Finance. Data inputs for the model were obtained from oil sands developers and Natural Resources Canada. OSTEM calculates annual revenues, royalties and federal taxes at project levels using project-level projections of capital investment, operating expenses and production. OSTEM calculates tax expenditures by comparing taxes paid under different tax regimes. The model also estimates the foregone revenue as a percentage of capital investment. Total tax expenditures associated with investment in the oil sands are projected to total $820 million for the period from 1986 to 2030, representing 4.6 per cent of the total investment. 10 refs., 2 tabs., 7 figs

  8. Nuclear energy for oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    In 1980, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, working with a number of Alberta-based companies, assessed the technical and economic feasibility of using a CANDU nuclear reactor to raise the production steam for the recovery of bitumen. The study followed several years of analysis which identified oil sands projects as the most appropriate single users of thermal energy of the amount and quality available from reactors. Over the life of an oil sands project a steam supply system based on a nuclear reactor is expected to offer a substantial cost advantage (25 - 50%) over the alternative system based on coal as the make-up fuel. Steam from natural gas is marginally more expensive than that from coal because the cost of natural gas is expected to escalate at a rate higher than inflation. For shallow deposits (150 - 250 metres) using intermediate pressure steam, the commercially proven Pressurized Heavy Water (PHW) reactor is most suitable. For deeper deposits (250 - 650 metres), the PHW reactor can provide the higher pressure steam using a compressor, but only with a reduction in thermal efficiency that substantially reduces its cost advantage. The CANDU Organic Cooled Reactor (OCR), however, can provide the high presure steam required with the large cost advantage. The economic benefit of nuclear steam supply systems, a saving of $2-4 per barrel of product, is large enough to justify a more detailed study

  9. Nuclear energy for oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    In working partnership with a number of Alberta-based companies an AECL (Atomic Energy of Canada Limited) study team assessed the technical and economic feasibility of using a nuclear reactor to raise the production steam for the recovery of bitumen. Technically sound concepts have been identified for using CANDU reactors for the in-situ recovery of bitumen from oil sands. Over the life of an oil sands project a steam supply system based on a nuclear reactor is expected to offer a substantial cost advantage (25 - 50 %) over the alternative system based on coal as the make-up fuel. Steam from natural gas is marginally more expensive than that from coal because the cost of natural gas is expected to escalate at a rate higher than inflation. For shallow deposits (150 -250 metres) using intermediate pressure steam, the commercially proven Pressurized Heavy Water (PHW) reactor is most suitable. For deeper deposits (250 - 650 metres), the PHW reactor can provide the higher pressure steam using a compressor, but only with a reduction in thermal efficiency that substantially reduces its cost advantage. The CANDU Organic Cooled Reactor (OCR), however, can provide a high pressure steam required with the large cost advantage. The economic benefit offered by nuclear steam supply systems, a saving of $2-4 per barrel of product, is large enough to justify the commitment of a more detailed study

  10. Extracting Oil From Tar Sands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ford, L. B.; Daly, D.

    1984-01-01

    Recovery of oil from tar sands possible by batch process, using steam produced by solar heater. In extraction process, solar heater provides steam for heating solvent boiler. Boiling solvent removes oil from tar sands in Soxhlet extractor.

  11. Dante in Alberta: chronicle of an oil addicted civilization

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    According to the author, Alberta, an heavenly province of Western Canada, is the theater of the biggest ecological crime of the moment in the form of oil exploitation. Alberta gathers all the aberrations and dramas that have been seen before in other oil producing countries, in particular in Africa, Middle-East and Asia: corruption, defiance of minority rights, terror threats, environment destruction etc

  12. 加拿大阿尔伯达盆地油砂开发状况和评价实践%Oil Sand Development Status and Evaluation Practice in Alberta Basin, Canada

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    赵鹏飞; 王勇; 李志明; 武静

    2013-01-01

    加拿大阿尔伯达盆地油砂资源丰富,Athabasca矿区是盆地中最大的油砂矿区,含油层段为白垩系Mannville组,矿区的目的层为潮汐环境下典型的曲流水道沉积.由于油藏曾发生生物降解作用,油矿地层沥青油黏度可达1×104~100×104 mPa·s.油砂开发主要采用露天开采和钻井开采方法,属钻井开采法的SAGD技术的机理是通过向油藏注入高温蒸汽,使固体沥青油变为可流动的原油,流入采油井筒中而被采出.连续油层厚度、隔夹层和气水层的分布以及水平井段的有效长度影响蒸汽腔的扩展和注汽效率.除考虑孔隙度、泥质含量、含油饱和度和电阻率外,SAGD开采方式下油砂的有效厚度识别标准还考虑连续油砂层、隔夹层和气水层的分布.油砂储量级别的确定,取决于储量的地质落实程度、资料获取情况和开发方案.%There is abundance of oil sand resources in Alberta Basin, Canada, where the Athabasca area is the largest one. The oil-bearing intervals in Athabasca area are located in Cretaceous Mannville Group, and the objective formation is typical meandering channel deposit in the tidal environment. As a result of occurrence of biodegradation, the reservoir oil viscosity is up to 1 X 104 ?100 X 104 mPa ?s. The main methods to develop the oil sands are open pit mining and drilling mining. SAGD technology belongs to drilling mining, whose mechanism is to inject high-temperature steam into the reservoir, so that the solid crude turns into flowing oil which flows into the wellbore to be produced. The expansion of steam chamber and the steam injection efficiency could be affected by the continuous reservoir thickness, interbed, gas/ water layer distribution and the net pay length in horizontal section. In addition to porosity, shale content, oil saturation and resistivity, the recognition standard of net pay thickness for SAGD technology should also consider the situation about continuous

  13. Ten Years of Growing Season Water, Energy and Carbon Exchange From an Oil sands Reclamation Site, Fort McMurray, Alberta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carey, S. K.; Drewitt, G. B.

    2013-12-01

    The oil sands mining industry in Canada has made a commitment to restore disturbed areas to an equivalent capability to that which existed prior to mining. Certification requires successful reclamation, which can in part be evaluated through long-term ecosystem studies. A reclamation site, informally named South Bison Hill (SBH) has had growing season water, energy and carbon fluxes measured via the eddy covariance method for 10 years since establishment. SBH was capped with a 0.2 m peat-glacial till mixture overlying 0.8 m of reworked glacial till soil. The site was seeded to barley cultivar (Hordeum spp.) in the summer of 2002 and later planted to white spruce (Picea glauca) and aspen (Populus spp.) in the summer/fall of 2004. Since 2007, the major species atop SBH has been aspen, and by 2012 was on average ~ 4 m in height. Climatically, mean growing temperature did not vary greatly, yet there was considerable difference in rainfall among years, with 2012 having the greatest rainfall at 321 mm, whereas 2011 and 2007 were notably dry at 180 and 178 mm, respectively. The partitioning of energy varied among years, but the fraction of latent heat as a portion of net radiation increased with the establishment of aspen, along with concomitant increases in LAI and growing season net ecosystem exchange (NEE). Peat growing season ET was smallest in 2004 at 2.3 mm/d and greatest in 2010 at ~3.9 mm/d. ET rates showed a marked increase in 2008 corresponding with the increase in LAI attributed to the aspen cover. Since the establishment of a surface cover and vegetation in 2003, SBH has been a growing season sink for carbon dioxide. Values of NEE follow similar patterns to those of ET, with values gradually becoming more negative (greater carbon uptake) as the aspen forest established. Comparison with other disturbed and undisturbed boreal aspen stands show that SBH exhibits similar water, energy and carbon flux patterns during the growing season.

  14. Oil sands: Strategies for future development - An overview

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Alberta Chamber of Resources developed a Task Force in 1993 to promote oil sands development, and to identify and publicize the social and economic benefits of oil sands operations. Formation, mission of the National Task Force, impediments and opportunities for development were summarized. Attributes of oil sands, benefits of their development, impediments to development, strategic development and potential growth scenarios were discussed. Cooperation between government and industry was deemed essential. Recommendations included development of a bitumen pipeline network, provision of incentives to encourage development, encouragement of risk and reward sharing between bitumen producers and up graders, and diversification of products and by-products. 7 figs., 12 refs

  15. Method for Extraction and Multielement Analysis of Hypogymnia Physodes Samples from the Athabasca Oil Sands Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    A microwave-assisted digestion technique followed by ICPMS (inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry) analysis was used to measure concentrations of 43 elements in Hypogymnia physodes samples collected in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) of northern Alberta, Canad...

  16. From oil sands to transportation fuels, to electricity, to hydrogen

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Alberta Chamber of Resources programs and initiatives on oil sands and heavy oil, and strategies for revitalizing oilsands development in Alberta are described. The regional upgrader and satellite production facilities concept, and technology requirements for mineable oil sands by the year 2010 are discussed. Strategic alliances in furtherence of oil sands research and development and the National Task Force on Oil Sands Strategies are described. Changes in requirements for transportation fuels due to stricter regulations and environmental initiatives will cause a trend to lighter fuels with more hydrogen content, less aromatics, nitrogen, sulfur and metals. A preferred refinery configuration will be able to process heavier crudes and synthetic crudes, have no heavy fuel oil product, low sulfur products, low aromatics with high octane, and low operating cost. A regional or central facility that combines the processing capabilities of a bitumen upgrader with the process units of a refinery is preferred. Advantages of this concept are: value addition to the feedstock is maximized; dependence on refineries is eliminated; restriction on synthetic crude oil volumes due to capacity limitations at refineries is eliminated; directly marketable finished products are produced; more stringent quality specifications are satisfied; and the synergies between upgrading and refining improve overall economics of processing. It is recommended that the concept of regional upgraders be adopted for Alberta, strategic alliances be encouraged, incentives for bitumen production be provided, and a bitumen pipeline network be developed. 12 refs

  17. Sulfur Biogeochemistry of an Oil Sands Composite Tailings Deposit

    OpenAIRE

    Warren, Lesley A.; Kendra, Kathryn E.; Brady, Allyson L.; Slater, Greg F.

    2016-01-01

    Composite tailings (CT), an engineered, alkaline, saline mixture of oil sands tailings (FFT), processed sand and gypsum (CaSO4; 1 kg CaSO4 per m3 FFT) are used as a dry reclamation strategy in the Alberta Oil Sands Region (AOSR). It is estimated that 9.6 × 108 m3 of CT are either in, or awaiting emplacement in surface pits within the AOSR, highlighting their potential global importance in sulfur cycling. Here, in the first CT sulfur biogeochemistry investigation, integrated geochemical, pyros...

  18. Canada's oil sands : opportunities and challenges to 2015 : an update

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This report updated an energy market assessment compiled and published by the National Energy Board (NEB) in 2004. Major changes resulting from recent developments in the oil sands industry were presented. The report was compiled from a series of informal meetings and discussions with a cross-section of oil sands stakeholders. Influences on recent oil sands development and production growth included market development and pipelines; rising capital and labour costs; operating costs; environmental impact management; high crude oil prices; rising global energy demand; technology innovations; and a more stable investment climate. A comparison of key assumptions between the current analysis and the 2004 report was presented, along with estimates of operating and supply costs for various types of oil sands recovery methods. Potential markets for oil sands production were reviewed. Environmental and socio-economic impacts on the industry included the larger than anticipated water withdrawals from the Athabasca River for mining operations; and uncertainties over land reclamation methods. The industry has also been impacted by a limited supply of skilled workers in Alberta. It was observed that the potential for building cogeneration capacity has decreased since the 2004 report. It was concluded that the oil sands industry will continue to grow rapidly, but the rate of development will depend on the balance that is reached between the opposing forces that affect the oil sands. Natural gas costs, high oil prices, air emissions management issues and water usage will continue to be of concern. 6 tabs., 7 figs

  19. Macro-economic benefits of an expanded oil sands industry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Probable impact of benefits of expanded oil sands development on employment and government revenues were analyzed. Investment in proposed oil sands facilities was forecast to create about 1 million person-years of direct and indirect employment. Forty percent of employment gains would be created in Alberta, with remaining positions mostly in Ontario and Quebec. Government taxes, royalties, reduced debts interest costs and revenues to municipalities, hospitals and pension plans would increase by $97 billion (1994 dollars) between 1995 and 2025. Additional benefits would include increases in average Canadian disposable incomes, substitution of imported with domestic oil, and expansion of gross domestic product in Alberta by 5%. Some variation may be expected because of accuracy of assumptions that were made in the analysis, but the character of the results were not expected to change

  20. Under-mining the environment : the oil sands report card

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dyer, S.; Moorhouse, J.; Laufenberg, K.; Powell, R.; Chandler, M. (ed.)

    2008-01-15

    This environmental performance survey is a report to the public on the comparative environmental management and performance of proposed and active oil sands mining projects in Alberta. The report card revealed that the proposed and actual environmental performance of the oil sands mining industry is generally poor, with an average score of 33 per cent. The overall scores for projects ranged from 56 per cent for the Albian Sands Muskeg River Mine to 18 per cent for the Synenco Northern Lights and Syncrude projects. The report indicated that there is much room for improvement in oil sand mining environmental management. Currently, there are many feasible strategies and best practices that could improve performance, but they are inconsistently applied in the oil sands region. The environmental performance of this industry could improve significantly if all operations improved their performance to match industry leaders. Although nearly all companies have environmental policies that commit to improvement, voluntary targets are rare for oil sands companies. Few have publicly committed to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, water intensity or air emissions. Very few have adopted targets to improve their intensity-based environmental performance. The report also indicated a lack of readily available information on environmental performance. The Pembina Institute and the World Wildlife Fund-Canada made the following recommendations to improve environmental management of oil sands mining operations in Alberta: (1) government should enforce acceptable standards of environmental performance, (2) government should report on environmental impacts to public lands, (3) government should request segregated information to enable comparison of environmental performance, (4) companies should implement best available practices, and (5) companies should make project-specific oil sands environmental performance information more widely available. 84 refs., 12 tabs., 8 figs.

  1. Oil sands supply outlook : potential supply and costs of crude bitumen and synthetic crude oil in Canada, 2003-2017

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This assessment of the Canadian oil sands industry addressed bitumen and synthetic crude oil supply costs based on extraction, production and upgrading technologies. Forecasts of production under various global scenarios and energy price outlooks were also presented. It was revealed that the future for the already well-established oil sands industry is promising, particularly given the outlook for oil prices. Alberta's bitumen resources are one of the world's largest hydrocarbon deposits. At year-end 2002, the remaining established reserves of crude bitumen in Alberta were estimated to be 174.4 billion barrels and further growth is expected. The challenges facing the industry include higher industry supply costs and the need for innovative commercial and technological solutions to address the risks of irregularities and changes in crude oil prices. This report discussed the resource base, recovery technologies, history of the oil sands industry, proposed oil sands development projects, and capital and operating costs. Supply costs for a range of oil sands recovery technologies and production projections under various business scenarios were included. Environmental issues were also addressed along with energy requirements, water requirements, water supply, diluent requirements, infrastructure constraints, and market constraints. The potential effect of natural gas production on the recovery of crude bitumen in the Athabasca oil sands area was also reviewed. Information on every operating, proposed and planned oil sands project in Alberta is available to organizations who provided funding for this study. 84 refs., 42 tabs., 24 figs

  2. Alberta oil and gas industry annual statistics for 1999

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A compilation of statistical data from Alberta's oil and gas industry was presented to provide energy analysts and economists a single source of consistent energy-related data. Alberta is Canada's largest crude oil and natural gas producer. This report provides current monthly and historical annual energy data covering the last decade. Data is organized by energy type including butane, ethane, natural gas, natural gas liquids, oil, propane and sulphur. This CD-Rom also included statistical data on energy supply, energy production, disposition, and prices. tabs

  3. A new era of opportunity for Canada's oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The enormous potential for wealth that is offered by Canada's oil sands deposits was discussed. Alberta's oil sands contain more recoverable oil than all the reserves of Saudi Arabia - but they have barely been developed. They are a natural resource of sufficient size, scale and competitive advantage to be of great benefit to the economy. The National Oil Sands Task Force has invested billions of dollars in the project and believes that the industry can triple production over the next 25 years. Benefits to Canadians will include an estimated 44,000 new jobs across the country, $97 billion increase in revenue for all levels of government, and $100 billion increase in consumer disposable incomes. In order to realize these socio-economic benefits, some important improvements were recommended to insure industry efficiency and growth. Some of the recommendations included increased investment in science and technology, as a key component of development. 1 tab., 4 figs

  4. Land capability classification for forest ecosystems in the oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A land classification system was developed to be used in the Alberta Environmental Protection Environmental Impact Assessment Applications and Conservation and Reclamation Applications for EPEA Approvals for new oil sands mines in 1995. It was also developed to evaluate pre-disturbance and post-disturbance land capability and reclamation for forest production. This 1998 update is the result of field testing during 1996 and 1997. The classification is based mainly on soils and landscape features. 48 refs., 35 tabs., 20 figs

  5. Bison and the oil sands industry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Syncrude's Mildred Lake oil sands development project is located within the central boreal mixed wood forest in an area supporting traditional land uses, including trapping and harvesting of wildlife and plant materials by Fort McKay First Nation residents, in a community within 10 km of the Syncrude development. Reclamation requirements and standards in Alberta specify that the reclamation process must restore a landscape capability equivalent to, or better than that existing before disturbance. Syncrude is committed to complying with all provincial requirements and guidelines in all aspects of its business, including land reclamation. A five year research program has been established to determine the feasibility of reclaiming a portion of the landscape to support wood bison and bison subspecies once indigenous to this area. The current project may be expanded as a pilot commercial ranching venture to explore its commercial viability as a business venture by the Fort McKay First nations

  6. Integration of High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor Technology with Oil Sands Processes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    L.E. Demick

    2011-10-01

    This paper summarizes an evaluation of siting an HTGR plant in a remote area supplying steam, electricity and high temperature gas for recovery and upgrading of unconventional crude oil from oil sands. The area selected for this evaluation is the Alberta Canada oil sands. This is a very fertile and active area for bitumen recovery and upgrading with significant quantities piped to refineries in Canada and the U.S Additionally data on the energy consumption and other factors that are required to complete the evaluation of HTGR application is readily available in the public domain. There is also interest by the Alberta oil sands producers (OSP) in identifying alternative energy sources for their operations. It should be noted, however, that the results of this evaluation could be applied to any similar oil sands area.

  7. Enabling technologies for oil sands development

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A review of oil sands production and expansion possibilities in Alberta were presented. The enabling technologies for oil sands projects include mining (bucketwheels, draglines, trucks, shovels conveyors, slurry hydrotransport); extraction (conditioning tumblers, pipelines, tanks, hot water, caustic, cold water, frothers); froth cleaning (centrifuges, solvent treatment); tailings (tailings ponds, consolidated tailings); and upgrading (coking, hydrotreating for SCO, hydrocracking and multiple products). The enabling technologies for in situ production include cyclic steam stimulation for vertical wells, steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) for dual horizontal wells, and cold production with wormholes. This paper described the recovery potentials of each of these processes. It also discussed the role of government and industry in research and cooperative research involving both the private and public sectors. Examples of each of these were described such as SAGD, the OSLO cold water extraction process, The consolidated tailings (CT) project, the low energy extraction process (slurry production, hydrotransport, pipeline conditioning and warm water extraction), and research in fine tailings, to demonstrate that although objectives may differ, government and industry research objectives are complementary

  8. Canadian oil sands : supply and potential for market growth

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Canadian oil sands recoverable reserves rank second only to Saudi Arabia and present enormous potential, particularly through technological gains. This paper discussed the market potential for oil sands both globally and in North America. It was estimated that oil sands production would eventually surpass declining conventional production, increasing from 42 per cent of Western supply in 2002 to 78 per cent in 2015. Recoverable reserves were an estimated 174 billion barrels, with cumulative production at 4 billion barrels between 1967 to 2003. Statistics of U.S. and Canadian markets for crude oil were presented to the year 2020. A flow chart of oil sands products and market outlets was presented, as well as details of existing and potential markets for Canadian crude oil. Oil sands product dispositions were outlined, with the prediction that Asia may emerge as an incremental market. World crude oil production statistics were presented by type. World residual supply and demand estimates were presented, including details of conversion capacity and requirements for residual processing capacity in refineries and field upgraders. American refinery feedstocks were presented by type, with the identification of an increase in heavy crude runs. It was noted that recent pricing provided a strong incentive to add refining conversion capacity to process heavy oil. An outline of a study completed for the Alberta government and industry was presented, in which upgrading to light synthetic crude was determined as a base case. The value added to process bitumen beyond upgrading was discussed in relation to the upgrading of American refineries to process bitumen blends and synthetic crude. Potential cases for upgrading bitumen were presented, along with a comparison of capital costs. An overall economic comparison of projects was provided. Various measures to maximize markets for oil sands products in Alberta were presented. It was suggested that U.S. markets should absorb more new

  9. Microstructural characterization of a Canadian oil sand

    CERN Document Server

    Dinh, Hong Doan; Nauroy, Jean-François; Tang, Anh-Minh; Souhail, Youssef; 10.1139/T2012-072

    2013-01-01

    The microstructure of oil sand samples extracted at a depth of 75 m from the estuarine Middle McMurray formation (Alberta, Canada) has been investigated by using high resolution 3D X-Ray microtomography ($\\mu$CT) and Cryo Scanning Electron Microscopy (CryoSEM). $\\mu$CT images evidenced some dense areas composed of highly angular grains surrounded by fluids that are separated by larger pores full of gas. 3D Image analysis provided in dense areas porosity values compatible with in-situ log data and macroscopic laboratory determinations, showing that they are representative of intact states. $\\mu$CT hence provided some information on the morphology of the cracks and disturbance created by gas expansion. The CryoSEM technique, in which the sample is freeze fractured within the SEM chamber prior to observation, provided pictures in which the (frozen) bitumen clearly appears between the sand grains. No evidence of the existence of a thin connate water layer between grains and the bitumen, frequently mentioned in th...

  10. Sulfur biogeochemistry of oil sands composite tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Warren, Lesley; Stephenson, Kate [Earth Sciences, McMaster University (Canada)], email: warrenl@mcmaster.ca; Penner, Tara [Syncrude Environmental Research (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    This paper discusses the sulfur biogeochemistry of oil sands composite tailings (CT). The Government of Alberta is accelerating reclamation activities on composite tailings. As a CT pilot reclamation operation, Syncrude is currently constructing the first freshwater fen. Minor unpredicted incidents with H2S gas released from the dewatering process associated with these reclamations have been reported. The objective of this study is to ascertain the connection between microbial activity and H2S generation within CT and to assess the sulfur biogeochemistry of untreated and treated (fen) CT over seasonal and annual timescales. The microbial geochemical interactions taking place are shown using a flow chart. CT is composed of gypsum, sand, clay and organics like naphthenic acids and bitumen. Sulfur and Fe cycling in mining systems and their microbial activities are presented. The chemistry and the processes involved within CT are also given along with the results. It can be said that the diverse Fe and S metabolizing microorganisms confirm the ecology involved in H2S dynamics.

  11. Contrasting carbon isotope fingerprints of migrating and solution gas in heavy oil fields of northeastern Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rowe, D.; Muehlenbachs, K. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Dept. of Geology; Greenwood, G. [Chemex Labs. (Alberta) Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada); Jensen, E. [Amoco Canada Petroleum Co. Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada)

    1997-09-01

    A study was conducted to determine the feasibility of using {delta}C{sup 1}3 isotopes for fingerprinting gases in Alberta and Saskatchewan to facilitate remediation. Thousands of wells have been drilled in this region to develop heavy oil reservoirs in the Lower Cretaceous Mannville sands. The solution gases in the heavy oil consist of biogenic methane with trace C{sub 2+} components. The gases from the Cretaceous shales have {delta}C{sup 1}3 values indicative of thermogenesis. The study showed that most of the gases migrating in and near the wells show the isotopic signal of the shallower Upper Cretaceous shales and not the Mannville sands in which the wells were completed.

  12. The use of stable isotopes to trace oil sands constituents

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Farwell, A.J.; Nero, V.; Dixon, D.G. [Waterloo Univ., ON (Canada). Dept. of Biology

    2002-07-01

    A study was conducted to determine the biological effects of oil sands mining operations on aquatic ecosystems. The study focused on the Athabasca oil sand deposit, the largest of 4 deposits in northern Alberta. In particular, the study examined the cycling of oil sand constituents in Benthic invertebrates collected from test pits at Syncrude Canada Ltd.. The invertebrates were similar in size, but different in the quantity of process-affected water or mature fine tailings containing residual bitumen. Dragonflies and damselflies in particular, showed trends of depletion for the carbon 13 isotope and enrichment in nitrogen 15 isotope in pits where levels of process affected water was high. The depletion of carbon 13 isotope suggests that oil sand constituents assimilate into the benthic food chain. The greatest carbon 13 depletion, which was approximately 27 per cent, was found to be in test pits with high turbidity. This implies that oil sands constituents degrade microbially instead of by photosynthetic production. All benthic invertebrate group demonstrated an incremental enrichment in nitrogen 15 isotope from the control pit to the pit with greatest levels of mature fine tailings.

  13. The use of stable isotopes to trace oil sands constituents

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A study was conducted to determine the biological effects of oil sands mining operations on aquatic ecosystems. The study focused on the Athabasca oil sand deposit, the largest of 4 deposits in northern Alberta. In particular, the study examined the cycling of oil sand constituents in Benthic invertebrates collected from test pits at Syncrude Canada Ltd.. The invertebrates were similar in size, but different in the quantity of process-affected water or mature fine tailings containing residual bitumen. Dragonflies and damselflies in particular, showed trends of depletion for the carbon 13 isotope and enrichment in nitrogen 15 isotope in pits where levels of process affected water was high. The depletion of carbon 13 isotope suggests that oil sand constituents assimilate into the benthic food chain. The greatest carbon 13 depletion, which was approximately 27 per cent, was found to be in test pits with high turbidity. This implies that oil sands constituents degrade microbially instead of by photosynthetic production. All benthic invertebrate group demonstrated an incremental enrichment in nitrogen 15 isotope from the control pit to the pit with greatest levels of mature fine tailings

  14. Transformism in Alberta: The Environmental Political Economy of the Bituminous Sands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Katz-Rosene, Ryan

    This thesis attempts to help establish environmental political economy as a viable academic field while providing an example of work in the discipline. It offers an analysis of societal processes resulting in the co-optation and/or neutralization of critical environmentalist ideas. Using Alberta's bituminous sands as a case study, and a Gramsci-influenced eco-Marxist theory as a foundation, the thesis argues that the term 'environmental transformism' (inspired by the Gramscian term trasformismo) is helpful in describing and framing such processes. Accordingly, the ensuing chapters provide an analysis of why environmental transformism is happening in Alberta, and demonstrate how this mechanism works at protecting the status quo from threatening ideologies, thereby consolidating neoliberal capitalism. A concluding argument discusses the inherent dangers posed to society by the transformism of certain environmental subjectivities. The thesis begins by introducing the contentious social and environmental issues surrounding the development of the bituminous sands.

  15. Using biofilms and grazing chironomids (Diptera: Chironomidae) to determine primary production, nitrogen stable isotopic baseline and enrichment within wetlands differing in anthropogenic stressors and located in the Athabasca oil sands region of Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Frederick, K.; Ciborowski, J.J. [Windsor Univ., Windsor, ON (Canada); Wytrykush, C.M. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2009-07-01

    This presentation reported on a study that investigated the effects of oil sands process materials (OSPM) and construction disturbances on primary production and nitrogen stable isotope enrichment in reclaimed and reference wetlands at oil sands mines in the Athabasca basin. Productivity and food web analyses were instrumental in evaluating the succession and viability of reclaimed wetlands. Primary production was estimated through chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentrations and biomass. Carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) stable isotope ratios were used to identify energy sources, storage and the magnitude and direction of energy transfer within food webs. The objectives were to determine primary productivity, the N baseline, and N enrichment from biofilms and grazing invertebrates colonizing artificial substrates immersed in the water column of two OSPM-affected, two constructed reference and two natural reference wetlands. The lower biomass and Chl a concentrations in OSPM-affected and constructed wetlands suggests that both anthropogenic disturbance and OSPM have an adverse effect on primary productivity and overall wetland function.

  16. Oil-sands giants leaving smaller environmental footprints

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stonehouse, D

    1999-08-01

    Suncor Energy and Syncrude Canada are both investing billions of dollars to increase production at their mining facilities near Fort McMurray, Alberta. The two oil-sand giants will be spending a good portion of their investment (almost $1 billion) to improve their environmental performance. Both companies are focusing on reducing their energy use to cut production costs and to reduce carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}) emissions. Currently, oil-sand mining accounts for the largest industrial use of electricity in Alberta. This produces tremendous amounts of greenhouse gases such as CO{sub 2} which has been linked to global warming. Byyear 2006, all of Syncrude's processing equipment will be replaced by energy-efficient equipment. Shovel/truck/hydrotransport will replace the dragline/bucket-wheel/conveyor system used in the past. New technology designed to improve bitumen recovery and increase upgrading processing yields is also expected to decrease emissions by 5 million tonnes per year. Syncrude will also construct a $60 million gas turbine generator for its Aurora project. Sulphur dioxide (SO{sub 2}) emissions which cause acid rain, are also on the decline at both Syncrude and Suncor. Suncor will reduce its energy use through the construction of a $315 million cogeneration plant which will generate 220 MV of electricity for its operations, along with waste heat that will be used to separate the heavy oil from the sand. The cogeneration plant will be 45 per cent more efficient that current operations. Both companies have planted millions of trees and shrubs to reclaim nearly 3,000 hectares of land. The tailings from oil-sand mining are currently being captured in settling basins. Both companies have long range plans for dealing with tailings. The first is called water capping which involves layering fresh water over tailing deposits to create a lake. The second is called composite tails, which involves mixing the tailings with gypsum and sand to make them settle

  17. Oil-sands giants leaving smaller environmental footprints

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stonehouse, D.

    1999-08-01

    Suncor Energy and Syncrude Canada are both investing billions of dollars to increase production at their mining facilities near Fort McMurray, Alberta. The two oil-sand giants will be spending a good portion of their investment (almost $1 billion) to improve their environmental performance. Both companies are focusing on reducing their energy use to cut production costs and to reduce carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}) emissions. Currently, oil-sand mining accounts for the largest industrial use of electricity in Alberta. This produces tremendous amounts of greenhouse gases such as CO{sub 2} which has been linked to global warming. By year 2006, all of Syncrude`s processing equipment will be replaced by energy-efficient equipment. Shovel/truck/hydrotransport will replace the dragline/bucket-wheel/conveyor system used in the past. New technology designed to improve bitumen recovery and increase upgrading processing yields is also expected to decrease emissions by 5 million tonnes per year. Syncrude will also construct a $60 million gas turbine generator for its Aurora project. Sulphur dioxide (SO{sub 2}) emissions which cause acid rain, are also on the decline at both Syncrude and Suncor. Suncor will reduce its energy use through the construction of a $315 million cogeneration plant which will generate 220 MV of electricity for its operations, along with waste heat that will be used to separate the heavy oil from the sand. The cogeneration plant will be 45 per cent more efficient that current operations. Both companies have planted millions of trees and shrubs to reclaim nearly 3,000 hectares of land. The tailings from oil-sand mining are currently being captured in settling basins. Both companies have long range plans for dealing with tailings. The first is called water capping which involves layering fresh water over tailing deposits to create a lake. The second is called composite tails, which involves mixing the tailings with gypsum and sand to make them settle faster.

  18. Oil-sands giants leaving smaller environmental footprints

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Suncor Energy and Syncrude Canada are both investing billions of dollars to increase production at their mining facilities near Fort McMurray, Alberta. The two oil-sand giants will be spending a good portion of their investment (almost $1 billion) to improve their environmental performance. Both companies are focusing on reducing their energy use to cut production costs and to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Currently, oil-sand mining accounts for the largest industrial use of electricity in Alberta. This produces tremendous amounts of greenhouse gases such as CO2 which has been linked to global warming. By year 2006, all of Syncrude's processing equipment will be replaced by energy-efficient equipment. Shovel/truck/hydrotransport will replace the dragline/bucket-wheel/conveyor system used in the past. New technology designed to improve bitumen recovery and increase upgrading processing yields is also expected to decrease emissions by 5 million tonnes per year. Syncrude will also construct a $60 million gas turbine generator for its Aurora project. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions which cause acid rain, are also on the decline at both Syncrude and Suncor. Suncor will reduce its energy use through the construction of a $315 million cogeneration plant which will generate 220 MV of electricity for its operations, along with waste heat that will be used to separate the heavy oil from the sand. The cogeneration plant will be 45 per cent more efficient that current operations. Both companies have planted millions of trees and shrubs to reclaim nearly 3,000 hectares of land. The tailings from oil-sand mining are currently being captured in settling basins. Both companies have long range plans for dealing with tailings. The first is called water capping which involves layering fresh water over tailing deposits to create a lake. The second is called composite tails, which involves mixing the tailings with gypsum and sand to make them settle faster

  19. Microbial processes in the Athabasca Oil Sands and their potential applications in microbial enhanced oil recovery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harner, N K; Richardson, T L; Thompson, K A; Best, R J; Best, A S; Trevors, J T

    2011-11-01

    The Athabasca Oil Sands are located within the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, which covers over 140,200 km(2) of land in Alberta, Canada. The oil sands provide a unique environment for bacteria as a result of the stressors of low water availability and high hydrocarbon concentrations. Understanding the mechanisms bacteria use to tolerate these stresses may aid in our understanding of how hydrocarbon degradation has occurred over geological time, and how these processes and related tolerance mechanisms may be used in biotechnology applications such as microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR). The majority of research has focused on microbiology processes in oil reservoirs and oilfields; as such there is a paucity of information specific to oil sands. By studying microbial processes in oil sands there is the potential to use microbes in MEOR applications. This article reviews the microbiology of the Athabasca Oil Sands and the mechanisms bacteria use to tolerate low water and high hydrocarbon availability in oil reservoirs and oilfields, and potential applications in MEOR. PMID:21853326

  20. Experimental sediment exchanges between natural and constructed wetlands on oil sands leases, near Fort McMurray, Alberta : a look at the relationship between sediment treatments and benthic macroinvertebrates colonizers

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oil sand mining activity has been ongoing in the Fort McMurray area since the 1960s, affecting more than 1400 sq. km. of land that has required, and will continue to require, land reclamation. This study examined the feasibility of sequestering mining by-products, a method that has received much attention in recent years. In particular, it examined the suitability of using the mining by-product consolidated tailings as sediment for constructed wetlands. The study isolates the effect of tailings associated water from the effect of consolidated tailings sediment on benthic macroinvertebrate population health. Sediments from reference and opportunistic wetlands were transplanted with sediment from a constructed wetland layered with 4 metres of consolidated tailings. The effects of macrophyte presence in these plots will be examined and contrasted with macroinvertebrates to determine a possible relationship

  1. Mobil Oil Canada : Kearl Oil Sands Mine

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The upgrader design at Mobil's Kearl Oil Sands Mine were described. Included were feed characteristics, upgrader products, process schemes and their overall economics and upgrader technologies in use, including coking, deasphalting, hydrocracking, hydrotreating and visbreaking. Advantages and disadvantages of the upgrader technologies were highlighted. As far as the product is concerned, much of it is destined to U.S. refineries that are equipped to process the material. The Kearl Oil Sands Mine upgrading facility will likely use a combination of coker/hydrotreating, which is a well proven process for high value products that has been used in all five of Mobil's refineries in the U.S., and visbreaker/deasphalting, which has shown promise in bench-scale testing, but at present still has some potential commercial difficulties. Foremost among these are the high softening product of asphalt from visbroken products, questionable commercial feasibility of the low yield of pitch, and problems in the disposal of asphalt. Severe visbreaking also yields unstable products. Details of Mobil Canada's oil sands project were also summarized 2 tabs., 9 figs

  2. Drilling deeper : the in situ oil sands report card

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Moorhouse, J.; Huot, M.; Dyer, S. [Pembina Institute, Drayton Valley, AB (Canada)

    2010-03-15

    In situ extraction techniques are increasingly being used to develop deep oil sands deposits in Alberta despite the fact that little is currently known about the potential impacts of the technology on the surrounding environment. This report presented an initial attempt to evaluate and compare the environmental performance of various in situ oil sands operations. Oil sands companies responded to surveys with questions related to the following 5 main categories: (1) general environmental management, (2) land, (3) air emissions, (4) water, and (5) climate change. The study showed that few projects have established reduction targets for air emissions, water use, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that exceed government requirements. In situ projects emitted more GHGs and sulphur dioxide (SO{sub 2}) than other mining technologies. Very few companies have invested in biodiversity offsets to compensate for the impacts of in situ developments. Only 2 companies have third party accredited environmental management systems for in site projects. The study also demonstrated that there is little publicly available data related to in site environmental performance. Companies must be encouraged to establish public reduction targets. Policies must be developed to mitigate the terrestrial impacts of in situ oil sands development. 124 refs., 18 tabs., 16 figs.

  3. Oil sands geologists in an industry-school partnership : a resource and teaching opportunity

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The province of Alberta has developed a credit course within their Career and Technology Studies Program on the earth science of oil sands for senior high school science students. The course helps students learn to apply basic sciences to earth science through workplace site visits, resource material and team work. This paper described the increasing demand for, and success of, industry-high school partnerships, and provided special emphasis on the Bowness Senior High School-Imperial Oil partnership in Calgary, Alberta. Imperial Oil Resources is a major producer of oil sands and an employer of earth scientists in a variety of careers in which a wide range of technologies is applied. Students enrolled in the credit study program visit the Imperial Oil Resources Research Centre on five different occasions to gain skills and qualities sought by the workplace including communication, adaptability, team work, and science literacy and its application. 9 refs., 1 tab., 2 figs

  4. Achieving emissions reduction through oil sands cogeneration in Alberta’s deregulated electricity market

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The province of Alberta faces the challenge of balancing its commitment to reduce CO2 emissions and the growth of its energy-intensive oil sands industry. Currently, these operations rely on the Alberta electricity system and on-site generation to satisfy their steam and electricity requirements. Most of the on-site generation units produce steam and electricity through the process of cogeneration. It is unclear to what extent new and existing operations will continue to develop cogeneration units or rely on electricity from the Alberta grid to meet their energy requirements in the near future. This study explores the potential for reductions in fuel usage and CO2 emissions by increasing the penetration of oil sands cogeneration in the provincial generation mixture. EnergyPLAN is used to perform scenario analyses on Alberta’s electricity system in 2030 with a focus on transmission conditions to the oil sands region. The results show that up to 15–24% of CO2 reductions prescribed by the 2008 Alberta Climate Strategy are possible. Furthermore, the policy implications of these scenarios within a deregulated market are discussed. - Highlights: • High levels of cogeneration in the oil sands significantly reduce the total fuel usage and CO2 emissions for the province. • Beyond a certain threshold, the emissions reduction intensity per MW of cogeneration installed is reduced. • The cost difference between scenarios is not significant. • Policy which gives an advantage to a particular technology goes against the ideology of a deregulated market. • Alberta will need significant improvements to its transmission system in order for oil sands cogeneration to persist

  5. Alberta's reserves 2001 and supply/demand outlook 2002-2011 : crude bitumen, crude oil, natural gas and liquids, coal, sulphur

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This document provides stakeholders with a reliable source of information on the state of reserves, supply and demand for Alberta's energy resources including crude bitumen, crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids, sulphur and coal. The report also includes estimates of initial reserves, remaining established reserves, and ultimate potential. A 10-year supply and demand forecast for Alberta's energy resources is also presented. The economic factors that determine the development of Alberta's energy resources depend on resource supply, development costs, energy demand, conservation and environmental and social considerations. Energy development in 2001 was driven in part by changes in energy prices, drilling activity and planned investments of billions of dollars in the oil sands projects. Production of raw bitumen exceeded conventional crude oil for the first time in 2001, with the first commercial steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) production. Several SAGD schemes have been approved and more are under review. Although natural gas production is expected to decline in the second half of the forecast period, interest in coalbed methane development will likely increase. Alberta has the largest oil sands resource in the world, with nearly 50 billion cubic meters that are potentially recoverable. Alberta's remaining established reserves of conventional crude oil was estimated at 278 million cubic metres. 35 tabs., 55 figs., 3 appendices

  6. Fuel options for oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This presentation examined fuel options in relation to oil sands production. Options include steam and hydrogen (H2) for upgrading; natural gas by pipeline; bitumen; petroleum coke; and coal. Various cost drivers were also considered for each of the fuel options. It was noted that natural gas has high energy value but the capital cost is low, and that coke's energy value is very low but the capital cost is high. A chart forecasting energy prices was presented. The disposition of Western Canada's northern gas situation was presented. Issues concerning rail transportation for coal were considered. Environmental concerns were also examined. A chart of typical gas requirements for 75,000 B/D oil sands projects was presented. Issues concerning steam generation with gas and mining cogeneration with gas fuel and steam turbines were discussed, as well as cogeneration and H2 with gas fuels and steam turbines. Various technology and fuel utility options were examined, along with details of equipment and processes. Boiler technologies were reviewed by type as well as fuel and steam quality and pressure. Charts of cogeneration with gas turbine and circulation fluid bed boilers were presented. Gasification processes were reviewed and a supply cost basis was examined. Cost drivers were ranked according to energy, operating considerations and capital investment. Results indicated that fuel costs were significant for gas and coal. Capital costs and capital recovery charge was most significant with coal and gasification technology. Without capital recovery, cash costs favour the use of bitumen and coke. Gasification would need lower capital and lower capital recovery to compete with direct burning. It was concluded that direct burning of bitumen can compete with natural gas. With price volatility anticipated, dual fuel capability for bitumen and gas has merit. Petroleum coke can be produced or retrieved from stockpiles. Utility supply costs of direct burning of coke is marginally

  7. Canada's oil sands : opportunities and challenges to 2015 : an update

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2006-06-15

    This report updated an energy market assessment compiled and published by the National Energy Board (NEB) in 2004. Major changes resulting from recent developments in the oil sands industry were presented. The report was compiled from a series of informal meetings and discussions with a cross-section of oil sands stakeholders. Influences on recent oil sands development and production growth included market development and pipelines; rising capital and labour costs; operating costs; environmental impact management; high crude oil prices; rising global energy demand; technology innovations; and a more stable investment climate. A comparison of key assumptions between the current analysis and the 2004 report was presented, along with estimates of operating and supply costs for various types of oil sands recovery methods. Potential markets for oil sands production were reviewed. Environmental and socio-economic impacts on the industry included the larger than anticipated water withdrawals from the Athabasca River for mining operations; and uncertainties over land reclamation methods. The industry has also been impacted by a limited supply of skilled workers in Alberta. It was observed that the potential for building cogeneration capacity has decreased since the 2004 report. It was concluded that the oil sands industry will continue to grow rapidly, but the rate of development will depend on the balance that is reached between the opposing forces that affect the oil sands. Natural gas costs, high oil prices, air emissions management issues and water usage will continue to be of concern. 6 tabs., 7 figs.

  8. Dante in Alberta: chronicle of an oil addicted civilization; Dante en Alberta: chroniques d'une civilisation droguee au petrole

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Akram, Belkaid

    2010-07-01

    According to the author, Alberta, an heavenly province of Western Canada, is the theater of the biggest ecological crime of the moment in the form of oil exploitation. Alberta gathers all the aberrations and dramas that have been seen before in other oil producing countries, in particular in Africa, Middle-East and Asia: corruption, defiance of minority rights, terror threats, environment destruction etc

  9. Modular Helium Reactor (MHR) for oil sands extraction

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oil sands extraction is a very important industry for Canada, which continues to grow. It has been estimated that Athabasca region in northern Alberta has at least 1.6 trillion barrels of oil contained in oil sands, while the world liquid oil reserves are estimated as less than 1.0 trillion barrels. Strip mining can access only about 10% of the oil sand reserves, thus accessing most reserves involves in-situ technologies such as Steam Assisted Gravity Draining (SAGD). However, the SAGD process requires large amounts of high-temperature, high-pressure steam, which is currently being produced by burning natural gas. High-temperature nuclear reactors such as Modular Helium Reactor (MHR) present an alternative viable source of this steam, which can avoid the consumption of large amounts of natural gas and eliminate CO2 emissions. MHR technology has been under development in the US since the middle 1950s. It is the only nuclear technology demonstrated so far which is capable of achieving coolant outlet temperatures in the range of 700 - 1000oC. Several gas-cooled reactor plants have been built and operated to-date worldwide. The Modular Helium Reactor (MHR) has improved safety features, such as passive cooling. Coated fuel particles, annular core geometry with prismatic graphite elements used for the core structure material and as a moderator, along with helium as a coolant, distinguish the MHR from other gas cooled reactors and provide for its unique high-temperature and passive safety capabilities. Modularity is another important feature of the MHR. The 350 MW(t) MHR has been developed for electricity generation using a steam cycle, and has a net plant efficiency of 38.4%. One reactor module is capable of producing about 13,000 tons of steam per day. Such a reactor plant is therefore directly applicable to the oil sands extraction using the SAGD process. In this paper we present a flow diagram of a reactor plant co-producing electricity and steam for the SAGD process

  10. A Canadian perspective on the supply costs, production and economic impacts from oil sands development

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This article provided a synopsis of oil sands research recently conducted at the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI). The production profiles and capital expenditures that CERI has projected for oil sands projects were explored along with the macroeconomic benefits associated with oil sands development. In addition to rising capital and operating costs, bitumen producers are challenged by labour shortages and environmental concerns. However, CERI warrants continued growth in production from the oil sands industry, given the current high price state of the global oil market and security of supply concerns from oil importing countries. This article also provided background information and analysis to assess the implications of future development. The projected growth in the oil sands industry creates demands for infrastructure, housing, health care, education, and business services. The economic impacts were measured at the local, provincial, national and global levels in terms of changes in gross domestic product; changes in employment; and, changes in government revenues. It was concluded that with continued investment and development, Alberta's oil sands resource is expected to continue to produce oil for decades, and would eventually achieve 6 MMbpd production. 8 refs., 3 tabs., 10 figs

  11. Responses of wheatgrass species to composite/consolidated oil sands tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wu, Shihong; Wang, Bing [Klohn Crippen Berger (Canada); Sego, Dave [Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta (Canada); Naeth, Anne [School of Energy and the Environment, University of Alberta (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    Bitumen is one of the contents of the mixture present in the largest petroleum resource found in oil sands located in Northern Alberta. Addition of gypsum to mature fine tailings (MFT) produced from the hot water bitumen extraction process produces non-segregating composite/consolidated tailings (CT). This paper presents the response of wheatgrass to CT. Two species, northern wheatgrass and slender wheatgrass, were studied in a greenhouse experiment to assess their responses to CT discharged from Alberta oil sands mines. 3 seeding techniques were used to monitor plant emergence, early growth, and survival of directly seeded selected species. The results showed that northern and slender wheatgrass were tolerant of the CT mixture and grew reasonably well over 15 weeks, at least in the greenhouse experiment. Moreover, fertilizers added during seeding did not increase plant germination and emergence but they did help plant growth of the slender and northern wheatgrasses.

  12. Proceedings of the Infonex oil sands 2005 conference : an industry summit on emerging trends in exploration, production and resource management

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This conference provided a forum to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the oil sands industry with particular reference to resource characterization and supply and market outlooks to 2015. The driving forces behind oil sands development were also identified. The conference featured 12 presentations that dealt with a range of issues including resource management; operations management; price and cost sharing; emerging transmission pipeline challenges and opportunities; the fiscal regime for oil sands; minimizing the environmental impact of oil sands development; cumulative effects management and the regulatory approval process. An overview of a joint venture by Alberta Environment Northern Region and the Alberta Geological Survey to update existing maps of buried bedrock and drift channels in the oil sands mining and in-situ recoverable areas was included along with an overview of economic and environmental benefits of gasification. A new technology known as multiphase superfine atomized residue (MSAR) as an alternate fuel in oil sands production was discussed along with the issue of bridging the gap between the oil sand industry and First Nations partners. Three of the 12 presentations were catalogued separately for inclusion in this database. tabs., figs

  13. Ecotoxicological impacts of effluents generated by oil sands bitumen extraction and oil sands lixiviation on Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Debenest, T., E-mail: tdebenest@yahoo.fr [Environment Canada, Fluvial Ecosystem Research, 105 McGill Street, 7 floor, Montreal, Quebec, H2Y 2E7 (Canada); Turcotte, P. [Environment Canada, Fluvial Ecosystem Research, 105 McGill Street, 7 floor, Montreal, Quebec, H2Y 2E7 (Canada); Gagne, F., E-mail: francois.gagne@ec.gc.ca [Environment Canada, Fluvial Ecosystem Research, 105 McGill Street, 7 floor, Montreal, Quebec, H2Y 2E7 (Canada); Gagnon, C.; Blaise, C. [Environment Canada, Fluvial Ecosystem Research, 105 McGill Street, 7 floor, Montreal, Quebec, H2Y 2E7 (Canada)

    2012-05-15

    The exploitation of Athabasca oil sands deposits in northern Alberta has known an intense development in recent years. This development has raised concern about the ecotoxicological risk of such industrial activities adjacent to the Athabasca River. Indeed, bitumen extraction generated large amounts of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) which are discharged in tailing ponds in the Athabasca River watershed. This study sought to evaluate and compare the toxicity of OSPW and oil sands lixiviate water (OSLW) with a baseline (oil sands exposed to water; OSW) on a microalgae, Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata, at different concentrations (1.9, 5.5, 12.25, 25 and 37.5%, v/v). Chemical analyses of water-soluble contaminants showed that OSPW and OSLW were enriched in different elements such as vanadium (enrichment factor, EF = 66 and 12, respectively), aluminum (EF = 64 and 15, respectively), iron (EF = 52.5 and 17.1, respectively) and chromium (39 and 10, respectively). The toxicity of OSPW on cells with optimal intracellular esterase activity and chlorophyll autofluorescence (viable cells) (72 h-IC 50% < 1.9%) was 20 times higher than the one of OSW (72 h-IC 50% > 37.5%, v/v). OSLW was 4.4 times less toxic (IC 50% = 8.5%, v/v) than OSPW and 4.5 times more toxic than OSW. The inhibition of viable cell growth was significantly and highly correlated (<-0.7) with the increase of arsenic, beryllium, chromium, copper, lead, molybdenum and vanadium concentrations. The specific photosynthetic responses studied with JIP-test (rapid and polyphasic chlorophyll a fluorescence emission) showed a stimulation of the different functional parameters (efficiency of PSII to absorb energy from photons, size of effective PSII antenna and vitality of photosynthetic apparatus for energy conversion) in cultures exposed to OSPW and OSLW. To our knowledge, our study highlights the first evidence of physiological effects of OSPW and OSLW on microalgae.

  14. Ecotoxicological impacts of effluents generated by oil sands bitumen extraction and oil sands lixiviation on Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The exploitation of Athabasca oil sands deposits in northern Alberta has known an intense development in recent years. This development has raised concern about the ecotoxicological risk of such industrial activities adjacent to the Athabasca River. Indeed, bitumen extraction generated large amounts of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) which are discharged in tailing ponds in the Athabasca River watershed. This study sought to evaluate and compare the toxicity of OSPW and oil sands lixiviate water (OSLW) with a baseline (oil sands exposed to water; OSW) on a microalgae, Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata, at different concentrations (1.9, 5.5, 12.25, 25 and 37.5%, v/v). Chemical analyses of water-soluble contaminants showed that OSPW and OSLW were enriched in different elements such as vanadium (enrichment factor, EF = 66 and 12, respectively), aluminum (EF = 64 and 15, respectively), iron (EF = 52.5 and 17.1, respectively) and chromium (39 and 10, respectively). The toxicity of OSPW on cells with optimal intracellular esterase activity and chlorophyll autofluorescence (viable cells) (72 h-IC 50% 37.5%, v/v). OSLW was 4.4 times less toxic (IC 50% = 8.5%, v/v) than OSPW and 4.5 times more toxic than OSW. The inhibition of viable cell growth was significantly and highly correlated (<−0.7) with the increase of arsenic, beryllium, chromium, copper, lead, molybdenum and vanadium concentrations. The specific photosynthetic responses studied with JIP-test (rapid and polyphasic chlorophyll a fluorescence emission) showed a stimulation of the different functional parameters (efficiency of PSII to absorb energy from photons, size of effective PSII antenna and vitality of photosynthetic apparatus for energy conversion) in cultures exposed to OSPW and OSLW. To our knowledge, our study highlights the first evidence of physiological effects of OSPW and OSLW on microalgae.

  15. Microbially-accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. Pathway II: solid phase biogeochemistry

    OpenAIRE

    TariqSiddique; JoselitoMArocena

    2014-01-01

    Consolidation of clay particles in aqueous tailings suspensions is a major obstacle to effective management of oil sands tailings ponds in northern Alberta, Canada. We have observed that microorganisms indigenous to the tailings ponds accelerate consolidation of mature fine tailings (MFT) during active metabolism by using two biogeochemical pathways. In Pathway I, microbes alter porewater chemistry to indirectly increase consolidation of MFT. Here, we describe Pathway II comprising significan...

  16. Ambient air quality observations in the Athabasca oil sands region

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Both Syncrude and Suncor have plans to develop new oil sands leases and to increase crude oil and bitumen recovery in the Athabasca oil sands region. In recognition of the effects that this will have on the environment, Suncor has proposed modifications to reduce SO2 emissions to the atmosphere, while Syncrude plans to develop additional ambient air quality, sulphur deposition and biomonitoring programs. This report discussed the ambient air quality monitoring that was undertaken in the Fort McMurray-Fort McKay airshed. Twelve continuous ambient air quality stations and 76 passive monitoring stations are maintained in the region. Environment Canada maintains eight precipitation monitoring stations in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Source characterization, ambient air quality and meteorology observations, air quality monitoring, and air quality data from continuous sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, acid rain and particulates analyzers were reviewed. The documentation of all computer files used for the analysis of the air quality data is discussed in the Appendix. 47 refs., 39 tabs., 53 figs

  17. Geochemical evidence for a Cretaceous oil sand (Bima oil sand) in the Chad Basin, Nigeria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bata, Timothy; Parnell, John; Samaila, Nuhu K.; Abubakar, M. B.; Maigari, A. S.

    2015-11-01

    Paleogeographic studies have shown that Earth was covered with more water during the Cretaceous than it is today, as the global sea level was significantly higher. The Cretaceous witnessed one of the greatest marine transgressions in Earth's history, represented by widespread deposition of sands directly on underlying basement. These sand bodies hold much of the world's heavy oil. Here, we present for the first time, geochemical evidence of a Cretaceous oil sand (Bima oil sand) in the Chad Basin, Nigeria. Bima oil sand is similar to other Cretaceous oil sands, predominantly occurring at shallow depths on basin flanks and generally lacking a seal cover, making the oil susceptible to biodegradation. The bulk properties and distribution of molecular features in oils from the Bima oil sand suggest that they are biodegraded. Sterane maturity parameters and the trisnorhopane thermal indicator for the oils suggest thermal maturities consistent with oils generated as conventional light oils, which later degraded into heavy oils. These oils also show no evidence of 25-norhopane, strongly suggesting that biodegradation occurred at shallow depths, consistent with the shallow depth of occurrence of the Bima Formation at the study locality. Low diasterane/sterane ratios and C29H/C30H ratios greater than 1 suggest a carbonate source rock for the studied oil. The Sterane distribution further suggests that the oils were sourced from marine carbonate rocks. The C32 homohopane isomerization ratios for the Bima oil sand are 0.59-0.60, implying that the source rock has surpassed the main oil generation phase, consistent with burial depths of the Fika and Gongila Formations, which are both possible petroleum source rocks in the basin.

  18. Non-conventional development in Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Alberta's oil sands have been recognized as a major strategic resource in Alberta's and Canada's energy and economic future. The oil sands cover an area of almost 77,000 square kilometres and contain approximately 1.7 trillion barrels of oil, of which 300 billion barrels are believed to be recoverable. Highlights of Alberta production from 1973 to 1997 were reviewed. The review showed that by 1997, production of bitumen and synthetic crude oil from the oil sands reached 520,000 barrels per day which is 33 per cent of Alberta's and 25 per cent of Canada's total liquid petroleum production. Activities in oil sands development were outlined, including land sales, historical capital spending, predicted capital spending, technological improvements, and production and price forecasts. Improvements in oil recovery have been accounted for by technological improvements such as multi-lateral drilling, steam assisted gravity drainage, hydrotransport, and synergies with existing facilities. Since 1993, there has been a sharp increase in oil sands land sales. A total investment of $18.8 billion has been announced for the Athabasca, Cold Lake and Peace River deposits for the near future. Prospects for continuing vigorous development in oil sand extraction was predicted. 1 tab., 9 figs

  19. Investing for the future : Athabasca Oil Sands Trust 1998 annual report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Athabasca Oil Sand Trust was created in 1995 when a subsidiary of the Trust, Athabasca Oil Sands Investment Inc., acquired Alberta's 11.74 per cent working interest in the Syncrude Project, which is a joint venture involved in the mining and upgrading of bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands. The Trust is a closed-end investment trust which was created to provide an opportunity for direct public investment in Syncrude and oil sands development in northern Alberta. Syncrude, produced a record 76.7 million barrels of Syncrude Sweet Blend (SSB), and shipped its one billionth barrel on April 16, 1998. Another key achievement in 1998 was the investment the Syncrude Joint Venture Partners of almost half a billion dollars to maintain Syncrude's operations and pursue the Business Plan growth targets outlined in last year's report. By aggressively pursuing this capital investment program despite the current low oil prices, the Syncrude Joint Venture Partners expect to double SSB production to 155 million barrels per year by 2007. The Athabasca Trust's share of these capital expenditures to fuel the projected growth in production is about $ 70 million this year and the next. The report provides operating statistics on production, financial highlights and consolidated balance sheets for 1998, including operating expenditures, capital expenditures, and the usual notes to the consolidated financial statement. 10 tabs., 2 figs

  20. Easing the capacity crunch : infrastructure requirements to support rapidly developing oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Through annual consultation with its customers, Enbridge develops a supply and demand forecast which forms the basis for the company's development. It is complex to develop the appropriate pipeline infrastructure to support resource development, based on the significant forecast growth in supply in Alberta from oil sands and the limited traditional markets. The largest crude oil pipeline serving the oil sands industry in Alberta is owned and operated by Enbridge. The first customer was Suncor, followed by PetroCanada and EnCana. In 2002, a pipeline concept was developed by Enbridge to provide a link to Edmonton via a new large diameter pipeline. The mainline system which originates in Edmonton is expected to evolve and grow as oil sands production comes on line. The completion of Terrace Phase III expansion is one of the priorities for Enbridge in 2003. Other projects involve the extension of one of its lines from Mokena to Chicago, the segregation of batches on the system to improve quality of its deliveries, and extension and expansion into new markets. Shipper support will determine the scale of these developments. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has undergone a market study, as has Enbridge (Oil Sands Markets Study) in an effort to better understand markets and potential markets. It will assist in the determination of which pipeline infrastructure requires expansion, as well as the extent of infrastructure required to support new markets. tabs., figs

  1. Creating oil sands wetlands : some review and discussion

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This presentation described the limiting factors for wetland reclamation with particular reference to consolidated tailings (CT) wetlands in areas of oil sand mining activity. The cumulative effects in Alberta's boreal plain were discussed. The indicators for successful reclamation include sediment properties, vegetation, and food for zooplankton. This study examined 3 types of wetlands, including natural, opportunistic, and experimental. Preliminary results indicate that plants can grow in all types to some degree. The different levels of plant diversity are linked to the soil, seed banks and time. A greenhouse study was conducted on 12 wetlands located on Suncor and Syncrude leases in an effort to address a range of wetland types. It was concluded that the richness of plant species increased when CT was introduced into a natural wetland setting. Natural wetlands also had more cover when transplanted into the CT wetland. tabs., figs

  2. Mechanisms of chloride decomposition in upgrading oil sands bitumen

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Le, T.; Diaz, D.; Gray, M. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Dept. of Chemical and Materials Engineering; Eaton, P. [Champion Technologies, Fresno, TX (United States); Wu, A. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Edmonton Research Centre

    2004-07-01

    In addition to clay minerals, bitumens from mining operations contain chloride salts because of the salinity of the extraction process water and the connate water in the ore. These chlorides form corrosive hydrochloric acid. High concentrations of organic acid components known as naphthenic acids are also found in bitumen from Alberta's oil sands. These also cause corrosion. Chloride salts, clays and organic acids may interact in the presence of steam to promote hydrochloric acid formation causing major corrosion problems in downstream facilities. This study examined the behaviour of these components under upgrading conditions. In particular, it examined the rate and the extent of the hydrolysis reactions for salts found in bitumen. Mixtures of bitumen, salts and organic acids were exposed to flowing steam at 100 to 400 degrees C under nitrogen purge. Ion chromatography was used to analyze the condensed vapours for chloride.

  3. Report and recommendations of the task force on tree and shrub planting on active oil sands tailings dams

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2011-02-15

    In oil sands reclamation operations in Canada there is a conflict between dam safety and the planting of trees and woody shrubs. Indeed, tree planting is being restricted on the downstream slopes of dams to avoid damage to drains and to ensure the integrity of visual and instrumentation monitoring conflicting thus with progressive reclamation. Alberta Environment hired the Oil Sands Research and Information Network (OSRIN), an independent organization which analyzes and interprets available knowledge on soil and water reclamation in the oil sands mining sector, to address this issue and make recommendations. The organization appointed a Task Force which presented its final report in March 2011. The Task Force recommended that the Engineer of Record should be responsible for determining the tree and shrub planting zones and that he should submit his plans to Alberta Environment for approval.

  4. Fracturing in the oil-sands reservoirs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Yuan, Y.; Yang, B. [Society of Petroleum Engineers (Canada); Xu, B. [BitCan G and E Inc (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    Oil sands reservoirs stimulation requires the use of steam or solvent in order to reduce oil viscosity, making for better recovery. Injection of these stimulants is generally achieved by hydro-fracturing and, given concerns over the impact of this on caprock integrity, a better understanding is needed of the phenomena involved during fracturing. Based on a review of the literature and on analytical, numerical and field data, this paper aims to explore the phenomena involved during hydro-fracturing of oil sands. Review of existing test data shows that oil sands have a clear dilatation tendency. Analytical derivation then compares the effects and occurrence of dilatation and tensile parting during hydro-fracturing, showing a dominance of dilatation, resulting in much higher porosity in the sands formation. Field data then confirmed these derivations, thus giving them an experimental validation. Glaciation is proposed as a cause for the presence of these phenomena in oil sands, thus the results can safely be extrapolated to other similar rock formations.

  5. Monitoring degradation of oil sands constituents and foodweb dynamics in aquatic reclamation using stable isotopes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Farwell, A.J.; Butler, B.J.; Dixon, D.G. [Waterloo Univ., ON (Canada). Dept. of Biology; Mackinnon, M.D. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2003-07-01

    The process of extracting bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands deposits in northern Alberta generates large volumes of process-affected water with highly toxic constituents such as naphthenic acids. Napthenic acids can biodegrade and become less toxic in reclaimed aquatic systems. This study used stable isotopes to examine the cycling of oil sands constituents in aquatic systems. Benthic invertebrates were collected from test pits at Syncrude Canada Ltd. Dragonflies and damselflies showed trends in carbon 13 depletion and nitrogen 15 enrichment in pits with high levels of process-affected water. Chironomids and amphipods showed only nitrogen 15 enrichment. Carbon 13 depletion suggests invertebrate assimilation and incorporation of oil sands constituents through the microbial foodweb. It is important to define the isotope pathway of naphthenic acid degradation because naphthenic acids could represent a major source of carbon in reclaimed systems.

  6. Ore types impact on flocculation and the treatment strategies for different types of oil sand tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Yuan, X.S. [Syncrude Canada Ltd. (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    The depletion of conventional energy resources and the rising energy demand are driving development of the oil sands industry. In Alberta, oil sand ores are classified by depositional environment and exhibit different behaviors during the bitumen extraction process and in terms of flocculation and thickening according to the depositional environment. This study aims at providing additional information on the impact of ore type on flocculation and what the appropriate treatment strategies are. Experiments were performed on a Syncrude Aurora transition ore tailings sample with the injection of flocculants and/or coagulants. Results showed that the use of a single flocculant is efficient is lowering total solid concentration for fluvial and estuarine oil sand ores but ineffective for fine transition and marine ore tailings. This research provided useful information on the flocculation behavior of the different Albertan ore types and was able to identify appropriate treatment methods.

  7. Review of Alberta Crown Crude Oil Marketing Program

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This report contains an independent evaluation of the operations of the private marketing agents that are currently marketing the Alberta Crown's share of royalty crude oil. The evaluation includes a review of pricing performance, working relationship, current issues and the overall performance of the marketing arrangements during the fiscal years of 1997 and 1998. Overall, the outsourcing of sales of Crown production to agents is judged to be successful. For example, it has been noted that agents are becoming more aggressive in maintaining and increasing their margins. On the other hand, the increased level of aggressiveness in marketing, while tending to maximize Crown revenues, is also creating a potential conflict on how margins should be shared between the Crown and its agents. Also, there has been evidence of some management issues between the agents and the Crown concerning the extent to which the Crown should share in any increased value which the agent generates by increased third party marketing activities. These differences need to be addressed in order to maintain the strong performance of the marketing program. The consultants also recommend additional guidelines on risk management issues that more clearly define the Crown's risk tolerance. 2 tabs., 4 figs

  8. Fuel alternatives for oil sands development - the nuclear option

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Currently natural gas is the fuel of choice in all oil sand developments. Alberta sources of hydrocarbon based fuels are large but limited. Canadian nuclear technology was studied as a possible alternative for providing steam for the deep commercial in situ oil sand projects which were initiated over ten years ago. Because the in situ technology of that time required steam at pressures in excess of 10 MPa, the nuclear option required the development of new reactor technology, or the use of steam compressors, which was not economical. The current SAGD (steam assisted gravity drainage) technology requires steam at pressures of less than 5 MPa, which is in the reach of existing Canadian nuclear technology. The cost of supplying steam for a SAGD in situ project using a CANDU 3 nuclear reactor was developed. The study indicates that for gas prices in excess of $2.50 per gigajoule, replacing natural gas fuel with a nuclear reactor is economically feasible for in situ projects in excess of 123 thousand barrels per day. (author). 9 refs., 3 tabs., 12 figs

  9. Guideline for wetland establishment on reclaimed oil sands leases

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    These guidelines are intended to provide an approach to the development of wetlands on reclaimed landscapes in the oil sands region of Alberta. This issue of the Information Letter summarizes the contents of the full text document and provides an overview of the various parts, namely, the Introduction, which highlights the importance of wetlands as an important component of the natural landscape in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region; the Background, which provides an overview of relevant government policy, regulatory requirements and planning initiatives that relate to wetland development; a section which elaborates approaches to wetland development, including discussion of key functions and values of wetlands, and the establishment of specific wetland types; a framework for performance assessment, inclusive of a list of suggested parameters for performance monitoring; and an outline of the process and general information requirements for obtaining reclamation certification. A list of recommendations for further research, focusing on wetlands on composite or consolidated tailings as the highest priority, including matters related to water chemistry, biology, hydrology and traditional land use is also included

  10. Predicting wear of hydrotransport pipelines in oil sand slurries

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Been, J.; Lu, B.; Wolodko, J. [Alberta Research Council, Edmonton, AB (Canada); Kiel, D. [Coanda Research and Development Corp., Burnaby, BC (Canada)

    2008-07-01

    An overview of erosion and corrosion methods and techniques was presented. Wear to pipelines is influenced by slurry flow and chemistry; solids loading; and electrochemical interactions. While several experimental techniques have been developed to rank the performance of different pipeline materials, experiments do not currently provide accurate quantitative prediction of pipeline wear in the field. Rotating cylinder electrodes (RCE) and jet impingement methods are used to study the effect of flow velocity on corrosion rate. Slurry pot erosion-corrosion testers are used to rank materials for use in more dilute, less turbulent slurries. Coriolois slurry erosion testers are used to rank the erosion resistance of different pipeline materials. A pilot-scale flow loop is now being constructed by the Alberta Research Council (ARC) in order to replicate wet erosion phenomena in oil sands applications. The flow loop will be used to simulate the field conditions of oil sands pipelines and develop predictive wear data and models. Coulombic shear stress and characteristic wall velocities have been determined using a 2-layer model designed to represent flow as 2 distinct layers. To date, the flow loop pilot study has demonstrated that wear rates in smaller diameter flow loops are not significantly different than larger diameter field installations. Preliminary calculations have demonstrated that the flow loop can be used to accurately simulate the hydrodynamics and wear typically experienced in field slurry flows. 67 refs., 2 tabs., 7 figs.

  11. The splitting of P and NG and oil sands rights: an historical perspective

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Changes in the Mines and Minerals Act of Alberta are described to illustrate the evolution of the priorities and thinking over time that led to the present administration of oil sands and natural gas as separate minerals. Natural gas was first excluded from the definition of bituminous sands in 1955. The definition of bituminous sands was changed in 1957 to include natural gas once again. In a further change in 1978, both petroleum and natural gas were excluded from the definition of oil sands. More changes followed in 1984, when petroleum was added back into the definition, leaving natural gas as the only mineral excluded from the definition of oil sands. The 1984 change was triggered by changes in the Oil Sands Conservation Act. It is the current definition, which includes 'sands and other rock materials containing crude bitumen, and any other mineral substances, other than natural gas, in association with that crude bitumen'. It was a resource conservation issue in the past, and it is a conservation issue today, although much influenced by changes in technology and increased knowledge and understanding of the relevant factors. 2 tabs

  12. The splitting of P and NG and oil sands rights: an historical perspective

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Coombs, F. D. [Alberta Department of Energy, Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    1997-12-31

    Changes in the Mines and Minerals Act of Alberta are described to illustrate the evolution of the priorities and thinking over time that led to the present administration of oil sands and natural gas as separate minerals. Natural gas was first excluded from the definition of bituminous sands in 1955. The definition of bituminous sands was changed in 1957 to include natural gas once again. In a further change in 1978, both petroleum and natural gas were excluded from the definition of oil sands. More changes followed in 1984, when petroleum was added back into the definition, leaving natural gas as the only mineral excluded from the definition of oil sands. The 1984 change was triggered by changes in the Oil Sands Conservation Act. It is the current definition, which includes `sands and other rock materials containing crude bitumen, and any other mineral substances, other than natural gas, in association with that crude bitumen`. It was a resource conservation issue in the past, and it is a conservation issue today, although much influenced by changes in technology and increased knowledge and understanding of the relevant factors. 2 tabs.

  13. Mine Drainage and Oil Sand Water.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wei, Xinchao; Wolfe, F Andrew; Li, Yanjun

    2015-10-01

    Mine drainage from the mining of mineral resources (coal, metals, oil sand, or industrial minerals) remains as a persistent environmental problem. This review summarizes the scientific literature published in 2014 on the technical issues related to mine drainage or mine water in active and abandoned coal/hard rock mining sites or waste spoil piles. Also included in this review is the water from oil sand operations. This review is divided into the four sections: 1) mine drainage characterization, 2) prediction and environmental impact, 3) treatment technologies, 4) oil sand water. Many papers presented in this review address more than one aspect and different sections should not be regarded as being mutuallyexclusive or all-inclusive. PMID:26420092

  14. An integrated oil sands environment monitoring plan

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2011-07-15

    This oil sands monitoring plan was published by Environment Canada, which coordinated the work of several independent scientists in a process intended to deliver a world class environmental monitoring program. The plan was created in keeping with the core principles laid out by the federal oil sands advisory panel. These are that the plan should be comprehensive, scientifically rigorous, adaptive and robust, collaborative, transparent and accessible. The proposed oil Sands monitoring program framework conforms to these principles. The approach used was ecosystem-based and took into account several essential components of the system such as hydrology, water quality and quantity, and climatology and it also incorporated the relationships between these components. The best available science-based approach was used. The implementation of the plan is expected to result in standardized reporting, including peer-reviewed and plain language publications.

  15. Advanced CANDU reactor: an optimized energy source of oil sands application

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) is developing the ACR-700TM (Advanced CANDU Reactor-700TM) to meet customer needs for reduced capital cost, shorter construction schedule, high capacity factor while retaining the benefits of the CANDU experience base. The ACR-700 is based on the concept of CANDU horizontal fuel channels surrounded by heavy water moderator. The major innovation of this design is the use of slightly enriched uranium fuel in a CANFLEX bundle that is cooled by light water. This ensures: higher main steam pressures and temperatures providing higher thermal efficiency; a compact and simpler reactor design with reduced capital costs and shorter construction schedules; and reduced heavy water inventory compared to existing CANDU reactors. ACR-700 is not only a technically advanced and cost effective solution for electricity generating utilities, but also a low-cost, long-life and sustainable steam source for increasing Alberta's Oil Sand production rates. Currently practiced commercial surface mining and extraction of Oil Sand resources has been well established over the last three decades. But a majority of the available resources are somewhat deeper underground require in-situ extraction. Economic removal of such underground resources is now possible through the Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) process developed and proto-type tested in-site. SAGD requires the injection of large quantities of high-pressure steam into horizontal wells to form reduced viscosity bitumen and condensate mixture that is then collected at the surface. This paper describes joint AECL studies with CERI (Canadian Energy Research Institute) for the ACR, supplying both electricity and medium-pressure steam to an oil sands facility. The extensive oil sands deposits in northern Alberta are a very large energy resource. Currently, 30% of Canda's oil production is from the oil sands and this is expected to expand greatly over the coming decade. The bitumen deposits in the

  16. Forensic source differentiation of petrogenic, pyrogenic, and biogenic hydrocarbons in Canadian oil sands environmental samples.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Zhendi; Yang, C; Parrott, J L; Frank, R A; Yang, Z; Brown, C E; Hollebone, B P; Landriault, M; Fieldhouse, B; Liu, Y; Zhang, G; Hewitt, L M

    2014-04-30

    To facilitate monitoring efforts, a forensic chemical fingerprinting methodology has been applied to characterize and differentiate pyrogenic (combustion derived) and biogenic (organism derived) hydrocarbons from petrogenic (petroleum derived) hydrocarbons in environmental samples from the Canadian oil sands region. Between 2009 and 2012, hundreds of oil sands environmental samples including water (snowmelt water, river water, and tailings pond water) and sediments (from river beds and tailings ponds) have been analyzed. These samples were taken from sites where assessments of wild fish health, invertebrate communities, toxicology and detailed chemistry are being conducted as part of the Canada-Alberta Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Plan (JOSMP). This study describes the distribution patterns and potential sources of PAHs from these integrated JOSMP study sites, and findings will be linked to responses in laboratory bioassays and in wild organisms collected from these same sites. It was determined that hydrocarbons in Athabasca River sediments and waters were most likely from four sources: (1) petrogenic heavy oil sands bitumen; (2) biogenic compounds; (3) petrogenic hydrocarbons of other lighter fuel oils; and (4) pyrogenic PAHs. PAHs and biomarkers detected in snowmelt water samples collected near mining operations imply that these materials are derived from oil sands particulates (from open pit mines, stacks and coke piles). PMID:24632369

  17. Alberta's reserves 2002 and supply/demand outlook 2003-2012 : crude bitumen, crude oil, natural gas and liquids, coal, sulphur

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    In this document, stake holders find reliable information concerning the state of reserves, supply, and demand for Alberta's energy resources such as bitumen, crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids, coal, and sulphur. Estimates of initial reserves, remaining established reserves, and ultimate potential were also included in the report, along with a 10-year supply and demand forecast for Alberta's energy resources. The development of Alberta's energy resources depend on factors such as reserve supply, costs of development, energy demands, conservation, and social, economic and environmental considerations. The energy development landscape in 2002 was determined in large part by changes in energy prices, drilling activity, and planned investments in the range of billions of dollars in oil sands projects. For the first time in 2001, conventional crude oil production was surpassed by raw bitumen production, and this growth continued in 2002. During 2002, 48 per cent of the province's crude oil and equivalent production was in the form of non-upgraded bitumen and synthetic crude oil production. This growth can be explained by increased bitumen production from oil sands mining. Levels similar to those of 2001 were achieved for in situ bitumen production. Approval was recently granted for several steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) schemes, and many are currently under review by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB). Higher volumes of commercial production are expected from those schemes in future years. Decline in natural gas production in 2002 was due to less drilling activity, but this is expected to increase in 2003. For the remaining forecast period, production is expected to decline. Continued growth in coalbed methane (CBM) development activity is expected for 2002 and for the next few years. In response to this increased activity, the EUB will begin to calculate CBM reserves. 31 tabs., 66 figs., 3 appendices

  18. The future of Alberta's oil and gas: Long-term strategies necessary to sustain markets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers predicts that based on current combustion and depending on world oil prices, Canadian oil sands can supply North American demand for 40 years and Canadian natural gas can meet North American requirements for 20 years. Natural gas production in the U.S. is greater in total energy output than oil production of the world's largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia. At the same time the U.S. gas industry is confronting a unique and profound combination of events, namely it is facing the first true shortage of deliverable reserves in its history. This may be harsh news for the consumer, however, for Alberta's oil and gas industry, the new world energy order has the potential to be a huge blessing. With relatively large, unexploited oil and gas reserves and a next door neighbour with the world's most voracious appetite for fossil fuels, it is inevitable that much of this shortage is going to be satisfied by oil and gas from Canadian sources. Nevertheless, there are some barriers to be overcome. The greatest barriers to an assured U. S. market for Canadian oil and gas is competition from Venezuelan heavy crude and synthetic crude and light sour crude from the Gulf of Mexico. To assure a ready market for Canadian heavy crude in the U. S. Midwest, Canadian producers need to be pro-active in working with U. S. refiners to develop new conversion capacity, or develop upgrading in Canada. Mexico and Venezuela have been successfully participating in major U. S. expansions in coker projects to allow projects to run heavy crude. This will eventually result in an additional 600,000 barrels per day of heavy crude available on the U. S. market, putting further pressure on Canadian markets. The challenge is for Albertan producers to undertake similar strategies with U. S. Midwest refiners for heavy and synthetic crude. Long-term supply arrangements appear to be the only way to induce American Midwest refiners to make more investment to process

  19. Extraction of oil from oil sands using thermoresponsive polymeric surfactants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Bingqing; Duhamel, Jean

    2015-03-18

    Several thermoresponsive block copolymers constituted of a poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and a poly(2-(2-methoxyethoxy) ethyl methacrylate) (PMEO2MA) block were prepared by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and their ability to extract oil from oil sands was evaluated. The chemical composition of the PEG113-b-PMEO2MAX block copolymers was determined by (1)H NMR and gel permeation chromatography (GPC) with X-values ranging between 48 and 80. Aqueous solutions of block copolymers showed a cloud point of 34 ± 1 °C as determined by turbidimetry and dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements. DLS experiments indicated that these polymers formed stable block copolymer micelles due to association of the PMEO2MA blocks at temperatures greater than 45 °C with a unimodal distribution of hydrodynamic diameters. Since characterization of the block copolymer solutions as a function of temperature indicated the formation of hydrophobic domains in water for T > 45 °C, extractions of oil from oil sands with the block copolymers were conducted at T = 45 and 50 °C. At these temperatures, 15 mL of a 1 mg/mL PEG113-b-PMEO2MA77 aqueous solution extracted 100% of the oil trapped in 1 g of oil sand if 60 mg of toluene was added to the mixture. When the extraction was conducted under the same experimental conditions without block copolymer, a poor oil recovery of less than 30% was achieved. Starting with a 1 mg/mL block copolymer concentration, the block copolymer aqueous solution could be recycled up to five successive extractions while maintaining satisfying oil recovery. Each extraction cycle led to a 22% mass loss of block copolymer, certainly due to association with the toluene, oil, and sand particles. Together these experiments demonstrate that thermoresponsive block copolymers can be powerful aids to enhance the oil recovery of oil sands. PMID:25719623

  20. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes of tree swallows influenced by oil sands aquatic reclamation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This presentation reported on a study in which tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) were studied to evaluate reclamation strategies used by oil sand operators in Alberta. Wetland reclamation involves the transformation of tailings water and solids into functioning aquatic ecosystems. Naphthenic acids (NAs) and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) in tailing/reclamation material are toxic constituents that pose concern for growth rate, reproductive function and immune function in tree swallows. Exposure to xenobiotics from these tailings-based sites was determined by increased detoxification enzyme (EROD) activity. The dietary exposure of tree swallows to oil sands constituents was determined through stable isotope analysis. Previous studies revealed trends of 13C depletion and 15N enrichment in benthic invertebrates from reclaimed wetlands on the oil sands. Since most food consumed by tree swallow nestlings is aquatic, the isotope signatures in tree swallows should provide evidence of exposure to oil sands constituents. Tree swallow feather and muscle tissues were examined in this study to determine if stable isotopes could be used to identify dietary contributions from oil sands reclamation sites versus reference sites containing no tailings materials.

  1. Condensation induced water hammer and steam assisted gravity drainage in the Athabasca oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Most people will have been exposed to some aspect of the debate about the Athabasca Oil Sands in North-Eastern Alberta and the significant role that the oil sands are expected to play in supplying conventional fossil fuels. Part of the bitumen is recovered from mines and part is recovered from in situ projects utilizing the Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage Process (SAGD). SAGD utilizes a considerable amount of steam, that is injected into geological formations. Hot water, bitumen and some vapour are recovered from the production wells. With significant steam generation, transmission and injection, there is the very real possibility of condensation induced water hammers. There have been a number of catastrophic failures to date. The intent of the paper is to provide interesting background information on the in situ oil sands industry. More importantly, to show some interesting and broader applications of thermalhydraulics developed in the nuclear industry. The expertise developed may have potential markets, with some adaptation, to the oil sands industry. Finally, there has been some discussion about using nuclear power for steam generation in the oil sands. (orig.)

  2. Determination of water storage and permeability functions for oil sands tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fredlund, Delwyn G.; Stone, Jeff; Stianson, Jason [Golder Associates Ltd. (Canada); Sedgwick, Andrea [Total EandP Canada (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    Mining projects in the Alberta oil sands produce tailings in a slurry form with high water content and that makes it difficult to characterize the unsaturated soil property functions. This paper discusses the determination of water storage and permeability functions for oil sands tailings. The objective is to describe a way to conduct a conventional soil-water characteristic curve test and use it with an independently measured shrinkage curve to determine the proper unsaturated soil property functions for numerically modeling the drying process. A lab procedure for measuring and interpreting shrinkage behavior of oil sands tailings is given with the results. To obtain a closed-form equation for the shrinkage curve, a regression curve-fitting analysis was used. The saturated coefficient of permeability is combined with the soil-water characteristic curve (SWCC) to compute hydraulic properties for the oil sands tailings. From the results it can be concluded that the volumetric water content is essential to computing the water storage characteristics of oil sands tailings.

  3. SAGD report card : Alberta believes it can rival Saudi Arabia as an oil producer

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Roche, P.

    2008-10-15

    This article reviewed 9 oil sands companies that currently own commercial-scale steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) projects producing more than 5000 bbls a day in northern Alberta. The article reviewed production costs and outputs, and examined schedule and cost over-runs during project construction phases and how they are impacting on overall business trends for the companies. Technologies adopted by the project operators were outlined, and details of demonstration programs currently being conducted to test new technologies were presented. Issues concerning regulatory approvals for individual projects were discussed. Production statistics and forecasts were provided, and planned expansions were outlined. Projects reviewed in the article included Suncor's Firebag project; Husky's Tucker project; Nexen/OPTI's Long Lake project; EnCana's Foster Creek/Christina Lake project; ConocoPhillips' Surmont project Petro-Canada's Mackay River project; Devon's Jackfish project; JACOS' Hangingstone project; and Connacher's Great Divide project. Results of the review demonstrated that SAGD production is occurring at a slower rate than any of the companies originally predicted. However, output is continuing to rise. It was concluded that since SAGD is a relatively new technology, methods of improving the technology and reducing its environmental impacts are still being explored. 12 figs.

  4. Metal mining to the aid of the oil sands? Lateral opportunities in industrial cross-breeding

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sabag, S.F. [Dumont Nickel Inc., Toronto, ON (Canada)

    2009-07-01

    This paper demonstrated how oil sands operations can benefit from supporting innovative low cost metal mining to enhance their eco-footprint. Northeast Alberta contains large accumulations of recoverable metals, hosted in metal bearing black shales. Immense low grade polymetallic zones were discovered in 1995 but could not be exploited with existing recovery technologies. However, significant advances in bioleaching of metals from polymetallic black shale deposits have propelled this new deposit type to the forefront over the past 5 years as a long term future source of metals. Compared to traditional smelting and refining, bioleaching has lower Capex/Opex, lower eco-footprint and less energy dependence. Envisaged metal mining in the black shales of northeast Alberta can benefit oil sands operations by consuming large amounts of waste sulfur while also providing collateral opportunities for carbon sinks/offsets. Black shales have the capacity to sequester carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}). Dumont Nickel Inc. is advancing 6 polymetallic black shale projects in northeast Alberta over 2,500 km{sup 2} with potential for hosting up to 20 billion tons in six 50-100 km{sup 2} deposits. The projects present opportunities to develop low footprint metal mines, to use run-of-river hydro, to harvest waste heat, and to combine local technologies to create a new valuable industry independent of energy markets.

  5. Sulfur Biogeochemistry of an Oil Sands Composite Tailings Deposit

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lesley A Warren

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Composite tailings (CT, an engineered, alkaline, saline mixture of oil sands tailings (FFT, processed sand and gypsum (CaSO4; 1 kg CaSO4 per m3 FFT are used as a dry reclamation strategy in the Alberta Oil Sands Region (AOSR. It is estimated that 9.6 x 108 m3 of CT are either in, or awaiting emplacement in surface pits within the AOSR, highlighting their potential global importance in sulfur cycling. Here, in the first CT sulfur biogeochemistry investigation, integrated geochemical, pyrosequencing and lipid analyses identified high aqueous concentrations of ∑H2S (> 300 uM and highly altered sulfur compounds composition; low cell biomass (3.3 x106 to 6.0 x106 cells g-1 and modest bacterial diversity (H’ range between 1.4 to 1.9 across 5 depths spanning 34 meters of an in situ CT deposit. Pyrosequence results identified a total of 29,719 bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences, representing 131 OTUs spanning19 phyla including 7 candidate divisions, not reported in oil sands tailings pond studies to date. Legacy FFT common phyla, notably, gamma and beta Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Chloroflexi were represented. However, overall CT microbial diversity and PLFA values were low relative to other contexts. The identified known sulfate/sulfur reducing bacteria constituted at most 2% of the abundance; however, over 90% of the 131 OTUs identified are capable of sulfur metabolism. While PCR biases caution against overinterpretation of pyrosequence surveys, bacterial sequence results identified here, align with phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA and geochemical results. The highest bacterial diversities were associated with the depth of highest porewater [∑H2S] (22-24 m and joint porewater co-occurrence of Fe2+ and ∑H2S (6-8 m. Three distinct bacterial community structure depths corresponded to CT porewater regions of (1 shallow evident Fe(II (< 6 m, (2 co-occurring Fe(II and ∑H2S (6-8 m and (3 extensive ∑H2S (6-34 m (UniFrac. Candidate

  6. Tar sands showdown : Canada and the new politics of oil in an age of climate change

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This book outlined the social and environmental issues facing the oil sands industry in Canada, including economic sovereignty, energy security, water rights and free trade. The tar sands have become vital to the Canadian economy, as they have the potential to increase Canada's foreign oil output by 4 to 5 times in the next 15 years. The author discussed the ecological and social impact of the Alberta tar sands and the real cost of development to Albertans and Canadians. Tar sands oil production generates more than 3 times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil production. The industry is also becoming a prime example of the abuse of water sources. The author emphasized the need to build an alternative energy future in an age of global warming. The main objective of this book was to help stimulate a nation-wide public debate about the tar sands and the critical issues at stake regarding Canada's energy future and an environmental strategy for more sustainable development. refs., tabs., figs.

  7. Mammalian toxicity of naphthenic acids derived from the Athabasca oil sands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rogers, V.V.

    2003-07-01

    The acidic nature of petroleum is due in part to naphthenic acids, a group saturated mono- and polycyclic carboxylic acids which are natural constituents of petroleum. They account for nearly 4 per cent of crude petroleum by weight. Napthenic acids have received much attention at Alberta's Athabasca oil sand deposit, the world's largest, single bitumen deposit. Extracting the bitumen from oil sands is a complex process that involves mixing the oil sands with hot, alkaline water to separate the bitumen from sand and other waste products. The process produces large quantities of liquid tailings where napthenic acids are solubilized and concentrated. It is estimated that by 2025, approximately 1 billion cubic metres of liquid tailings will have accumulated in large holding ponds near the mine sites. This quantity will be incorporated into the ecosystem under wet and dry landscape reclamation strategies. Several aquatic toxicity studies of naphthenic acids have shown that they are highly toxic to invertebrates and fish at concentrations well below those found in the Alberta oil sand tailings. However, information regarding the mammalian toxicity of naphthenic acids is limited, particularly the effects of repeated, oral exposure. In this mammalian toxicity study, naphthenic acids were isolated from tailings at the Mildred Lake settling pond operated by Syncrude Canada Ltd. An acidification/solvent extraction procedure was performed, followed by ultrafiltration to isolate the naphthenic acids. Chemical analysis revealed a very heterogeneous mixture of acyclic and 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-ringed compounds. Acute testing on Wistar rats showed major behavioural and histopathological effects in both males and females. The study involved dosages of 300 mg/kg body weight of naphthenic acids, which is 50 times higher than the estimated worst-case, single day environmental exposure through drinking water for small mammals. The effects included suppression of appetite and

  8. Planning for maturity: Royalty changes for Alberta's conventional oil and gas production

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    An overview is presented of the royalty regime in the Alberta petroleum industry. Current oil and natural gas policy reviews, royalty regime response to fluctuating prices and expectations, maturing of the oil basin, and the economic state of the industry are discussed. With low or negative returns, there is little incentive to invest in the industry. A reduction of royalty on existing pools would provide cash flow for new activity and would raise current return on equity and capital. The province of Alberta has reduced royalties on oil and gas discovered after 1973, with an expected value of reduction of $85 million of gross royalties for each. The net cost to the Crown will be $85 million for oil and ca 25% less for gas due to a drop in processing costs. The royalty collection system will also be simplified. These changes are expected to result in increased levels of oil well drilling and reactivation. 6 figs., 2 tabs

  9. Creating value from waste: remediation of froth treatment tailings from oil sands mining operations

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Moran, Kevin [Titanium Corporation (Canada); Burdenie, B. [SNC-LAVALIN (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    As the world reserves of oil are depleting, most of the remaining oil is heavy oil from oil sands. Several methods based on water and solvent usage are used to recover this oil but they lead to the rejection of valuable compounds into tailings: heavy minerals, residual bitumen, water and solvent. The aim of this paper is to present the research and development program carried out by Titanium Corporation Inc., of Canada, to recover these compounds in Alberta. Pilot projects were conducted to test the developed technologies. Results showed performance meeting or exceeding expectations as well as a numerous environmental benefits including a significant reduction in water imports and emissions of CO2, NOx and volatile organic compounds. .

  10. Shifting sands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gillmor, D.

    2005-04-01

    The growing global competition for oil between the United States and China, and the potential role of Alberta's vast oil sands resources in the struggle between the two industrial giants to secure these and other potentially available oil supplies for themselves, are discussed. The principal argument made by the author is that for China and the United States oil is an instrument of foreign policy, the means by which to achieve or to maintain super-power status. In contrast, in Canada oil remains purely a commodity. The oil sands of Alberta are the largest hydrocarbon deposit in the world, holding some 1.6 trillion barrels of heavy crude. The oil sands have become the great White Hope of the world's petroleum supply, with intense interest in its development by both China and the United States. While Canadians are eager to cash in on the current high prices and growing shortage and are busy fighting over jurisdiction between the federal and the Alberta provincial government, there is no clear indications as to how Canada proposes to use the oil in broader trade negotiations with Washington, or China. Canadians are urged to become sensitized to the more distant future, raise their voices against the focus on short term benefits and refuse to allow themselves to become bystanders watching their energy heritage flowing south to the United States, and perhaps even east to China without efforts to maximize the potential benefits to Canada.

  11. Manufacturing (Il)Literacy in Alberta's Classrooms: The Case of an Oil-Dependent State

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hodgkins, Andrew

    2010-01-01

    This paper examines involvement of education-business "partnerships" presently occurring in the province of Alberta, Canada. Specific attention is paid to the promotion and sponsorship by oil multinational corporations (MNCs) of corporate propaganda masquerading as energy and environmental literacy programs targeted for the K-12 school system. The…

  12. Microwave processing of oil sands and contribution of clay minerals

    OpenAIRE

    Robinson, John P.; Binner, Eleanor; Saeid, Abdul; Al-Harahsheh, Mohammad; Kingman, S. W.

    2014-01-01

    This study establishes the feasibility of microwave heating for extracting oil from Oil Sands in ex-situ processes. Previous studies in this area have shown some potential, but have not characterised the dielectric properties of the Oil Sands used, nor related them to the mineral composition, both of which are vital if successful scale up is to be achieved. In this work the fundamental interactions of microwave energy with Oil Sands are investigated and understood for the first time, and the ...

  13. Alder-Frankia symbionts enhance the remediation and revegetation of oil sands tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Greer, C.W.; Lefrancois, E.; Quoreshi, A.; Khasa, D.; Fung, M.; Whyte, L.G.; Roy, S. [National Research Council of Canada, Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2007-07-01

    This presentation discussed the bioremediation and revegetation of oil sand tailings at Mildred Lake in Fort McMurray, Alberta. A study was conducted to develop efficient greenhouse production procedures for alder-Frankia symbionts and to develop a protocol for studying rhizosphere microflora inside and outside of the root system. Alders and symbionts were screened in greenhouse trails for use on tailings sands and composite tailings. The impact of rhizosphere microflora on the degradation of hydrocarbon contaminants was investigated. Field trials on tailings sands were initiated in 2005 using Frankia-inoculated and Hebeloma-inoculated green alders. The former showed comparable results to greenhouse trails after more than 2.5 years in the field. After only 1 year of field trials, soil quality characteristics improved for pH, electric conductivity, bulk density and nutrients and salt content, thus indicating the promise of this technology. Analysis of field plants after 2.5 years is currently in progress. tabs., figs.

  14. Landform design for a fen wetland on a tailings sand deposit in northern Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    McKenna, G.T.; Papini, A.G.; Scordo, E.B. [BGC Engineering Inc., Vancouver, BC (Canada); Wytrykush, C. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    This paper discussed one of the first fens to be established in a post-mining area of the Athabasca oil sands region. The entire watershed is specifically designed to support a wetland, and it will be constructed on a soft tailings deposit. A fen is a peat-accumulating wetland with a water table that is at, or close to, the surface consisting of mineral-saturated water coming from either groundwater or surface water. In order to monitor and adjust the fen design for field conditions, a full hydrological site investigation was launched together with parallel research programs involving the creation of a conservative landform design with controls over surface water and groundwater seepage inputs. Controlling the salinity of fen waters from tailings consolidation and seepage over time is a critical component to fen design. There are a limited number of documented examples of large-scale constructed fen wetlands.

  15. Oil sands to the rescue: oil sand microbial communities can degrade recalcitrant alkyl phenyl alkanoic acids

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Whitby, Corinne [University of Essex (Canada)], email: cwhitby@essex.ac.uk

    2011-07-01

    Almost half of all global oil reserves are found as biodegraded heavy oils found in vast tar sand deposits located in North and South America and these account for 47% of Canadian oil production. Oil sand extraction generates large amounts of toxic waste water, known as oil sand process waters (OSPW), that are stored in large tailing ponds that contain toxic compounds like naphthenic acids (NAs). The presence of NAs creates problems like toxicity, corrosion, and the formation of calcium napthenate deposits which block pipelines and other infrastructure and need to be removed. This paper presents oil sand microbial communities that can degrade these NAs. The approach is to apply new aliphatic and aromatic NAs as substrates to supplement and identify NA degrading microbes and also to identify the metabolites produced and explain NA degradation pathways and the functional genes involved. The chemistry and the processes involved are explained. From the results, it is suggested that pure cultures of P. putida KT2440 be used against NAs.

  16. Policy Analysis of the Canadian Oil Sands Experience

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    None, None

    2013-09-01

    For those who support U.S. oil sands development, the Canadian oil sands industry is often identified as a model the U.S. might emulate, yielding financial and energy security benefits. For opponents of domestic oil sands development, the Canadian oil sands experience illustrates the risks that opponents of development believe should deter domestic policymakers from incenting U.S. oil sands development. This report does not seek to evaluate the particular underpinnings of either side of this policy argument, but rather attempts to delve into the question of whether the Canadian experience has relevance as a foundational model for U.S. oil sands development. More specifically, this report seeks to assess whether and how the Canadian oil sands experience might be predictive or instructive in the context of fashioning a framework for a U.S. oil sands industry. In evaluating the implications of these underpinnings for a prospective U.S. oil sands industry, this report concentrates on prospective development of the oil sands deposits found in Utah.

  17. The development of today's mineable oil sands projects, the key factors influencing economics

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Many factors influence the perception of economic performance for developing projects. Some of these factors can be controlled by the developer, while some are outside the developer's sphere of influence. Technology selection, management systems, stakeholder involvement, environmental responsiveness and risk management are areas that may be influenced, however interest rates, product prices and currency exchange all have a measurable effect on project economics and are beyond a developer's control. Economic considerations for evaluating mineable oil sand development projects are outlined, focussing on the key factors unique to such developments in general and to the OSLO project in particular. The OSLO project is a proposed $5 billion energy development that entails constructing an open pit oil sands mine and a bitumen extraction facility north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, coupled with a bitumen upgrader in the Redwater area. 7 figs

  18. Alberta oil and gas industry: Annual statistics for 1997. Statistical series number 98-17

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This document presents annual statistics for the Alberta oil and gas industry for the supply and disposition of crude oil and equivalent; gas; ethane; propane; butanes; NGL mixes; and sulfur. Figures are given for deliveries and prices for the current year and also historically (1987--1996). Figures are also provided for the number of wells drilled during the year, meters drilled, and the annual well count

  19. Giving away the Alberta advantage - are Albertans receiving maximum revenues from their oil and gas?: executive summary

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The aim of the report was to see if Albertans are receiving maximum value from oil and gas revenues generated in their province. The study compared energy royalties collected on oil and gas production in Norway, Alaska and Alberta and found that both Norway and Alaska have realized greater turns (royalties and taxes) for every barrel of oil and gas produced than Alberta. The study examines Alberta with other international benchmarks such as Norway and Alaska, the collection performance of the current Alberta government compare with previous administrations, the indications for Alberta's future collection performance, the financial impact of Alberta's current provincial policies on the collection of oil and gas revenues and the policy implications for the fiscal management and accountability of government. Alberta's oil and gas legacy contributes significantly to employment, industry profits and government royalty and tax revenues, with government revenues from oil and gas royalties amounted to $3.78 billion or 21% of total government revenue in 1997-1998

  20. Acute toxicity of oil sands wastewater: A toxic balance

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A study was conducted to identify and determine the relative importance of the acutely toxic fractions of wastewater from oil sands extraction using a bioassay directed toxicity identification evaluation (TIE), to use these data to construct a toxic balance, and to determine whether the same fractions were acutely toxic to Microtox, Daphnia, and rainbow trout. Samples of extraction wastewater were obtained from the Mildred Lake tailings pond in Alberta during summer 1991 and 1992. The samples were centrifuged to remove suspended solids and the toxicity of the supernatant was evaluated. Seven manipulations, each of which was designed to remove a different class of compounds, was performed on the supernatant samples. A complete TIE was performed using the Microtox bacterial bioassay. All acute toxicity of the surface tailings pond water to Microtox was removed by precipitation of organic acids or by removal of nonpolar organics. These results suggest that the main toxic fraction was a surfactant. In the interstitial water of the fine tails, volatiles accounted for 15% of the acute toxicity. However, all the acute toxicity of interstitial water was removed by precipitation of organic acids or by removal of nonpolar organics. Organic acids accounted for all the acute toxicity of tailings pond water to Daphnia and rainbow trout. Differences in relative sensitivity of test organisms to the toxic fraction demonstrate the importance of using more than one test organism to evaluate acute toxicity. Daphnia was 0.4 times less sensitive and rainbow trout 3 times more sensitive than Microtox. 20 refs., 6 tabs

  1. CANDU nuclear plant configured for multiple oil sands and power applications

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    There is a need to meet expanding demand in Alberta for electricity for an expanding economy, high-pressure steam for oil sands recovery, and hydrogen for bitumen upgrading. This demand must be satisfied in a sustainable, environmentally acceptable and economic manner. Nuclear technology, and in particular AECL's new ACR-1000 reactor, is emerging as the best way to meet these multiple demands. The ACR-1000 can be configured to supply both high-pressure steam and electricity with the steam / electricity ratio optimized to standard turbine-generator sizing and oil sands requirements - thereby affording more options for nuclear plant siting and deployment. Energy for oil sands applications can be supplied in several ways by a centralized nuclear plant with a uniquely configured Balance of Plant (BOP). Steam could be piped to one or several in-situ oil Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) operations within 15 km of the plant boundary. Electricity could be transmitted to more remote facilities including an electrolytic hydrogen plant for bitumen upgraders, resistance-heating devices used for extraction of oil from shale, and electric boilers that generate steam for small in-situ oil sands recovery facilities. The various product streams from the 1200 MWe Class ACR-1000 could be sold by the plant owner through a combination of long-term power purchase agreements and flexible contracts that respond to variable grid prices and demand. In addition the electrolytic hydrogen plant to also serve as an energy storage facility at times of low power demand. These flexible nuclear power plant configurations increase the potential to use clean nuclear energy for more environmentally benign oil sands recovery while still meeting future energy demands economic constraints. (author)

  2. A toxicity assessment of oil sands wastewater

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A study was conducted to characterize the fractions responsible for the acute toxicity of oil sand wastewaters and to compare the relative sensitivity of Microtox, Daphnia magna, and rainbow trout to the toxic fractions. The second objective of the study was to assess the potential of the mixed-function oxygenase (MFO) system in rainbow trout as an indicator of exposure to sublethal concentrations of oil sand tailings water. All and ca 85% of the acute toxicity of surface tailings water and fine tails interstitial water respectively, as measured using the Microtox assay, was due to organic acid surfactants. Organic acids accounted for all the acute toxicity of surface tailings water to Daphnia and rainbow trout. However, Daphnia were 0.4 times less sensitive and rainbow trout were 3 times more sensitive than Microtox to these acids. The MFO system in rainbow trout responded rapidly, following a definable concentration-response relationship; however, it proved to be a relatively insensitive indicator of sublethal exposure to oil sand tailings water. Increased activity and maximal induction, as a result of exposure to 0.3 and 0.6 toxic units (TU), occurred rapidly within 24 h of exposure. Maximal induction required 0.4-0.8 TU of this wastewater. The absolute level of maximal induction was only 1/5 to 1/6 of the potential induction as found in response to the positive control, 0.5 mg/kg β-naphthoflavone. The sensitivity of this system was further compromised when the undesirably very high no observed effect and lowest observed effect concentrations of 0.15 TU and 0.2 TU were considered. The acutely toxic organic acids may have been responsible for the observed MFO induction and speculation in support of this hypothesis is presented. 68 refs., 7 figs., 9 tabs

  3. Investigation of the geothermal state of sedimentary basins using oil industry thermal data: case study from Northern Alberta exhibiting the need to systematically remove biased data

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Subsurface temperature data from industrial sources may contain significant biases that greatly reduce their overall quality. However, if these biases can be identified and removed, the data can provide a good preliminary source of information for further studies. In this paper, industrial thermal data from three sources: bottom hole temperatures, annual pool pressure tests and drill stem tests are evaluated to provide an updated view of the subsurface temperatures below the oil sand regions of Northern Alberta. The study highlights some of the potentially large systematic biases inherent in industrial temperature data which affect estimates of geothermal gradient and regional mapping of the geothermal field. (paper)

  4. 10 m standpipe tests on oil sands tailings: long-term experimental results and prediction

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jeeravipoolvarn, S.; Scott, J.D.; Chalaturnyk, R.J. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Natural Resources Engineering Facility

    2009-08-15

    Large volumes of high water content tailings composed of sand, silt, clay, and bitumen are produced during oil sands mining operations in northern Alberta. The tailings segregate during deposition, with the fines settling into tailings ponds. This paper presented the results of long-term, self-weight consolidation tests at the University of Alberta that were conducted to study material behaviour. Three large 10 m high standpipe tests were set up in 1982 to simulate large-scale compression behaviour of oil sands tailings in a controlled environment. Fine tailings and two mixes of fine tailings and sand were used. This paper presented the experimental results of the behaviour of a class of material that compresses with almost no dissipation of excess pore pressure. The fine tailings in standpipe 1 strained more than 30 per cent over the 25 year monitoring period by self-weight with very little to no effective stress developing. The mix of fine tailings and sand in standpipe 3 compressed with a significant effective stress development. The tailings in standpipe 1 can be regarded as a class of material where a reduction in volume is not governed by a unique relationship between effective stress and void ratio, whereas the tailings in standpipe 3 can be categorized as slurry with conventional behaviour. A numerical model with appropriate material constitutive relationships was developed in order to investigate the capability of the finite strain consolidation theory on these tailings. Numerical results, compared with the performance of the standpipe tests, showed that the theory overestimated the compression behaviour of the standpipe 1 material, but it could predict the standpipe 3 consolidation behaviour. It was concluded that the amount of creep depends on time and the state of the fines void ratio. Further study on compressibility- and hydraulic-conductivity-related phenomena would improve the consolidation prediction for this class of material. 18 refs., 1 tab., 27

  5. Reclamation design for a fen wetland on a tailings sand deposit in northern Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wytrykush, C. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada); McKenna, G.T.; Papini, A.G.; Scordo, E.B. [BGC Engineering Inc., Vancouver, BC (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    This paper discussed the first attempt at designing and constructing a fen wetland and surrounding watershed on a soft tailings deposit in the Athabasca oil sands region. Among the main design components were upland hummocks, vegetated swales, a pond for water storage, a fen wetland, and 2 perched fens. For each component, reclamation prescriptions were developed using methods from Syncrude's regulatory approvals for upland forests, advice from technical experts on wetlands, and results from an analogous wetland research program. Prior to the reclamation, a long-term research program was started to appraise the response of wetland plants to different operation treatments, including placement depth, material type, compaction, and salinity. Operation techniques were developed to glean live in-situ peat material from the top layer of the boreal forest for use in wetland reclamation. Design topography and soil material types were taken into account in developing the prescriptions, which were used to test specific research hypotheses within the instrumented research watershed.

  6. Sand Failure Mechanism and Sanding Parameters in Niger Delta Oil Reservoirs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sunday Isehunwa,

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Sand production is a major issue during oil and gas production from unconsolidated reservoirs. In predicting the onset of sand production, it is important to accurately determine the failure mechanism and the contributing parameters. The aim of this study was to determine sand failure mechanism in the Niger-Delta, identify themajor contributing parameters and evaluate their effects on sanding.Completion and production data from 78 strings completed on 22 reservoirs in a Niger Delta oil Field were evaluated. Sand failure mechanisms and contributing parameters were identified and compared with published profiles. The results showed that cohesive stress is the predominant sand failure mechanism. Water cut, bean size and gas oil ratio (GOR impact sand production in the Niger Delta.

  7. Income growth, government spending, and wasting assets: Alberta's oil and gas

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Physical and monetary accounts for the oil and gas sectors in Alberta from 1963 through 1988 are used to adjust Alberta's Gross Domestic Product and Gross Domestic Investment for changes in oil and gas reserves. Other resources, non-renewable and renewable, are important to Alberta, but the change in oil and gas reserves over the past quarter century deserves attention in itself. Growth rates of income and investment during the 1970s and 1980s differ significantly when the adjustments are made to conventional income accounts. Since policies are often based on conventional statistics, alternative measures yielding very different results warrant attention. The oil and gas accounts also permit comparison of past expenditures of resource revenues with what would be spent under a rule of thumb such as Robert Solow's (1986) suggestion that allowable consumption be interest on an initial patrimony of resource endowment. Such a comparison indicates the provincial government may, at times, have overspent resource revenues during the past quarter century; at other times its policies appear to have been quite conservative. The estimates presented require various assumptions, and therefore are but one possible set of adjustments deserving consideration. 26 refs., 4 figs., 13 tabs

  8. Changes in algal stable isotopes following nutrient and peat amendments in oil sands aquatic reclamation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The processing of oil sands in Alberta generates large volumes of processed material that must be reclaimed. Processed water and solids (PW/S) contain higher levels of naturally occurring compounds such as naphthenic acids (NAs) and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). Organic carbon and nitrogen are some of the constituents in PW/S that may provide nutrient sources for aquatic reclamation sites as they develop into viable ecosystems. This study was conducted to assess the modifying factors that may affect the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values of primary production in oil sands aquatic reclamation. Both field-based microcosm studies and laboratory studies were used to evaluate the changes in the growth and stable isotope values of phytoplankton, periphyton and/or filamentous algae along gradients of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), nitrogen and phosphorus. Various types of reclamation substrates were used in the study, including various combinations of sand, mature fine tailings, peat and process water. Results showed different levels of growth depending on both the water and substrate type. Typically, periphyton from oil sands reclamation sites were more enriched in 15N than the reference site. Periphyton from one site known as the MP site was more enriched in 13C than periphyton from another site know as the Shallow Wetland South Ditch (SWSD). However, periphyton in the demonstration pond (DP) was more 13C depleted than the reference site. Findings from this study indicate that carbon isotopes are influenced by other factors, such as nutrients.

  9. Ecohydrology applications to ecosystem reconstruction after oil-sand mining

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mendoza, Carl; Devito, Kevin

    2014-05-01

    Oil-sand deposits in northeast Alberta, Canada comprise some of the world's largest oil reserves. Open-pit mining of these resources leads to waste-rock piles, tailings ponds and open pits that must be reclaimed to "equivalent landscape capability", with viable forests and wetlands, using only native vegetation. Understanding ecohydrological processes in natural systems is critical for designing the necessary landforms and landscapes. A challenge is the cold, sub-humid climate, with highly variable precipitation. Furthermore, there are competing demands, needs or uses for water, in both quantity and quality, for reclamation and sustainability of forestlands, wetlands and end-pit lakes. On average there is a potential water deficit in the region, yet wetlands cover half of the undisturbed environment. Water budget analyses demonstrate that, although somewhat unpredictable and uncontrollable, the magnitude and timing of water delivery largely control water storage and conservation within the landscape. The opportunity is to design and manipulate these reconstructed landscapes so that water is stored and conserved, and water quality is naturally managed. Heterogeneous geologic materials can be arranged and layered, and landforms sculpted, to minimize runoff, enhance infiltration, and promote surface and subsurface storage. Similarly, discharge of poor quality water can be minimized or focused. And, appropriate vegetation choices are necessary to conserve water on the landscape. To achieve these ends, careful attention must be paid to the entire water budget, the variability in its components, interconnections between hydrologic units, in both space and time, and coupled vegetation processes. To date our knowledge is guided primarily by natural analogues. To move forward, it is apparent that numerous priorities and constraints, which are potentially competing, must be addressed. These include geotechnical and operational requirements, material limitations or excesses

  10. Oil sands tailings leachability and toxicity evaluation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fine tailings disposal and reclamation is a major issue facing the oil sands mining and extraction industry. Government regulations dictate that reclamation must return the site to a level of self-sustaining biological capability which approximates the natural condition. A two-phase laboratory program has been completed to investigate the suitability of alternative reclamation materials. For the first phase of the study, chemical and toxicological analyses were carried out on 13 different reclamation and reference materials (solid phase and extractions). Seedling emergence, nematode maturation, algal growth and bacterial luminescence for leachate samples showed a range of sensitivities in response to the tested materials, although phytotoxicity tests were generally the most sensitive. With the exception of one test material, high toxicity ratings were consistent with that expected from the chemical data. The second phase of the study focused on the evaluation of chemical and toxicological conditions in leachate water generated using bench-scale column percolation tests. Leachate water equivalent to 10 pore volume replacements was generated and temporal variations in toxicity and chemistry monitored. Similar to phase 1 findings, phytotoxicity tests were the most sensitive tests to leachate waters. For most materials tested, most toxicity was removed after 2--3 porewater replacements. More persistent toxicity was noted for samples containing bitumen (e.g., fine tails and oil sands). No clear correspondence was noted between chemical concentrations and toxicity in leachate waters

  11. Consolidation testing of oil sand fine tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Znidarcic, Dobroslav; Miller, Robert [University of Colorado (United States); Zyl, Dirk van [Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia (Canada); Fredlund, Murray [SoilVision Systems Ltd. (Canada); Wells, Sean [Suncor Energy Inc. (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    The most fundamentally challenging issue facing the geo-environmental community is containment, long-term storage, and volume reduction of oil sands fine tailings produced by the extraction process. This paper presents the results of a testing program in which the seepage induced consolidation test (SICT) is used to determine consolidation properties, i.e. the compressibility and permeability characteristics, of a mature fine tailings (MFT) sample. The obtained properties are verified independently by increased gravity in a geotechnical centrifuge. It is shown that MFT behave like other slurries and undergo a consolidation process when subjected to loading, seepage forces or increased self-weight stresses in a centrifuge. The void ratio (solids content) within each sample is variable and no restrictive assumptions are made on the variability of the consolidation properties of the sample. The results confirm that the SICT is applicable to the testing of oil sand MFT, and produces repeatable datasets under controlled laboratory conditions; nevertheless, more detailed field studies are recommended.

  12. Evaluating the role of cogeneration for carbon management in Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Developing long-term carbon control strategies is important in energy intensive industries such as the oil sands operations in Alberta. We examine the use of cogeneration to satisfy the energy demands of oil sands operations in Alberta in the context of carbon management. This paper evaluates the role of cogeneration in meeting Provincial carbon management goals and discusses the arbitrary characteristics of facility- and product-based carbon emissions control regulations. We model an oil sands operation that operates with and without incorporated cogeneration. We compare CO2 emissions and associated costs under different carbon emissions control regulations, including the present carbon emissions control regulation of Alberta. The results suggest that incorporating cogeneration into the growing oil sands industry could contribute in the near-term to reducing CO2 emissions in Alberta. This analysis also shows that the different accounting methods and calculations of electricity offsets could lead to very different levels of incentives for cogeneration. Regulations that attempt to manage emissions on a product and facility basis may become arbitrary and complex as regulators attempt to approximate the effect of an economy-wide carbon price. - Highlights: ► We assess the effectiveness of cogeneration for carbon management in Alberta. ► Cogeneration can offset a significant portion of Alberta's high carbon electricity. ► CO2 reduction potential of cogeneration may be higher if installed immediately. ► Product based policies should approximate the effect of an economy-wide policy.

  13. Non-aqueous heavy oil extraction from oil sand

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bohnert, George [National Nuclear Security Administration (United States)

    2011-07-01

    The Kansas City plant operated by Honeywell has a long history of working with DOE NNSA on engineering and manufacturing services supporting national security requirements. The plant has developed a non-aqueous method for heavy oil extraction from oil sands. This method is environmentally friendly as it does not use any external body of water, which would normally be contaminated in the conventional method. It is a 2 phase process consisting of terpene, limonene or alpha pinene, and carbon dioxide. The CO2 and terpene phases are both closed loop systems which minimizes material loss. The limonene and alpha pinene are both naturally derived solvents that come from citrus sources or pine trees respectively. Carbon dioxide is an excellent co-solvent with terpene. There is also a possibility for heat loss recovery during the distillation phase. This process produces clean dry sand. Laboratory tests have concluded that this using non-aqueous liquids process works effectively.

  14. A New Type of Exposed Oil Sand Mine

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2002-01-01

    With several means of analysis, the unique organic compound component and distribution of exposed oil sand existing in Qinghai, north-west China, is revealed. Qinghhai oil sand has great content of light components with high saturated hydrocarbon content up to approximately 50%, while its heavy components of colloid and asphaltene is rather low (<38%); straight-chain alkane has a regular distribution concentrating mainly around C28; it has a very high atom ratio of H/C. The physical parameters of the oil sand mine are within the range of common heavy oils. Such chemical composition and distribution obviously differs from that of other known exposed oil sand mines. This particular property of the oil sand is formed due to the unique geographical and geological environment. Therefore, it is intended to exploit the mine with a new combined method, i.e., first drill horizontal wells and then opencut.

  15. Supercritical-Fluid Extraction of Oil From Tar Sands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Compton, L. E.

    1982-01-01

    New supercritical solvent mixtures have been laboratory-tested for extraction of oil from tar sands. Mixture is circulated through sand at high pressure and at a temperature above critical point, dissolving organic matter into the compressed gas. Extract is recovered from sand residues. Low-temperature super-critical solvents reduce energy consumption and waste-disposal problems.

  16. Applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process to Oil Sands Environmental Compliance Risk Management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roux, Izak Johannes, III

    Oil companies in Alberta, Canada, invested $32 billion on new oil sands projects in 2013. Despite the size of this investment, there is a demonstrable deficiency in the uniformity and understanding of environmental legislation requirements that manifest into increased project compliance risks. This descriptive study developed 2 prioritized lists of environmental regulatory compliance risks and mitigation strategies and used multi-criteria decision theory for its theoretical framework. Information from compiled lists of environmental compliance risks and mitigation strategies was used to generate a specialized pairwise survey, which was piloted by 5 subject matter experts (SMEs). The survey was validated by a sample of 16 SMEs, after which the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) was used to rank a total of 33 compliance risks and 12 mitigation strategy criteria. A key finding was that the AHP is a suitable tool for ranking of compliance risks and mitigation strategies. Several working hypotheses were also tested regarding how SMEs prioritized 1 compliance risk or mitigation strategy compared to another. The AHP showed that regulatory compliance, company reputation, environmental compliance, and economics ranked the highest and that a multi criteria mitigation strategy for environmental compliance ranked the highest. The study results will inform Alberta oil sands industry leaders about the ranking and utility of specific compliance risks and mitigations strategies, enabling them to focus on actions that will generate legislative and public trust. Oil sands leaders implementing a risk management program using the risks and mitigation strategies identified in this study will contribute to environmental conservation, economic growth, and positive social change.

  17. Sand Production during Improved Oil Recovery in Unconsolidated Cores

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mohammad A. J. Ali.

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available Steam injection is a mechanisms used for improved oil recovery (IOR in heavy oil reservoirs. Heating the reservoir reduces the oil viscosity and causes the velocity of the moving oil to increase; and thus, the heated zone around the injection well will have high velocity. The increase of velocity in an unconsolidated formation is usually accompanied with sand movement in the reservoir creating a potential problem. Core samples from different wells in Kuwait were used to examine sand production during thermal injection in unconsolidated formation. A reservoir condition coreflood apparatus was used to inject oil with viscosities and flowrates. The oil sample was heated to give different viscosities, and the flowrate was increased gradually at each viscosity to establish the critical flowrate for sand production. At the end of the each test, the produced oil containing sand were filtered for sand content. The result showed that sand compaction at the injection face was more significant than sand production. Sand compaction resulted in permeability decline, whereas sand production improved the permeability. Sand production is a function of fluid and formation properties. The critical flowrate varied from 6 to 401 cc/hr for grain diameter of 277 to 366 μm, and at 684 cp viscosity oil. The critical flowrate varied from 3 to 87 cc/hr for grain diameter of 277 to 366 μm. Flowrate and viscosity of the oil, and the formation porosity, grain size, grain sorting, cementation, and overburden pressure, all contribute to sand production. Modeling all of these properties to predict sand production remains to be very challenging.

  18. Hedging Alberta Government's Oil and Gas Revenue: Is Acting Like a Farmer a Viable Strategy?

    OpenAIRE

    Hotz, Joffre; Unterschultz, James R.

    2009-01-01

    The provincial government of Alberta in Canada experiences significant annual revenue variability arising from changes in crude oil and natural gas prices. This research evaluated whether Alberta’s non-renewable revenue risk could be managed using a derivatives hedging program. Results from a historical hedging simulation approach suggested that such a program would not have been the most effective method of managing revenue risk over the period of 1995-96 to 2003-04. Total impacts of hedging...

  19. Simulation of cold heavy oil production using an integrated modular approach with emphasis on foamy oil flow and sand production effects

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wang, J.; Walters, D.A. [Taurus Reservoir Solutions Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada); Settari, A.; Wan, R.G. [Calgary Univ., AB (Canada)

    2006-07-01

    Cold heavy oil production with sand (CHOPS) is now a widely-used non-thermal oil recovery process. The process operates by producing sand to create wormholes and foamy oil drive. This paper presented a model that used an integrated modular approach to predict volumetric sand production. The model was based on a mixture theory with erosion mechanics in which multiphase hydrodynamics and geomechanics were coupled to determine saturation, pressure, porosity and formation displacements. Foamy oil was modelled as a dispersion of gas bubbles trapped in the oil. A modular approach was adopted in order to integrate stress-strain codes. The model was then integrated within erosion, reservoir, and geomechanics modules. Stress, flow, and erosion equations were solved within different time increments. Coupling terms were iterated until convergence was achieved on a time step basis. Typical vertical and horizontal wells in northeast Alberta were used to test the coupled model. Results showed that enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and sand production can be predicted by accounting for the effects of sand production and foamy oil flow. It was concluded that the model can be used for wellbore stability analyses and in the design of pumping strategies. 18 refs., 1 tab., 17 figs.

  20. Alberta Chamber of Resources : 1997 resources guide and directory

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Alberta Chamber of Resources (ACR) is composed of 140 member companies from the oil and gas industry, forestry, pulp and paper, mining, oil sands, utilities, contractors, suppliers, consultants, banking and other service groups, as well as representatives from universities and governments. ACR's activities during 1996 were reviewed. These included supporting or sponsoring a careers forum, and various other networking and information sharing opportunities, a study of the potential for Alberta's minerals industry, and exploring opportunities for research in the forestry sector and the further development of Alberta's oil sands. Studies of the transportation and infrastructures strategies for Alberta's resources, royalty regimes, tenure and compensation issues associated with oil sands reservoirs that are 'capped' by natural gas reservoirs, taxation issues related to oil sands development, mineral rights tenure, and toll design and royalty issues affecting Alberta's natural gas sector rounded out the Chamber's activities. The annual review also profiled a number of ACR member companies, among them Koch Oil Company Ltd., Pardee Equipment Ltd., Interprovincial Pipe Line Inc., Clearwater Welding and Fabricating Ltd., and Weldwood of Canada. A listing of all ACR members was also provided

  1. An airborne assessment of atmospheric particulate emissions from the processing of Athabasca oil sands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. G. Howell

    2013-08-01

    Full Text Available During the Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites (ARCTAS campaign, two NASA research aircraft, a DC-8 and a P-3B, were outfitted with extensive trace gas (the DC-8 and aerosol (both aircraft instrumentation. Each aircraft spent about a half hour sampling air around the oil sands mining and upgrading facilities near Ft. McMurray, Alberta, Canada. The DC-8 circled the area, while the P-3B flew directly over the upgrading plants, sampling close to the exhaust stacks, then headed downwind to monitor the aerosol as it aged. At short range, the plume from the oil sands is a complex mosaic of freshly nucleated ultrafine particles from a SO2 and NO2-rich plume, fly ash and soot from industrial processes, and dust from dirt roads and mining operations. Shortly downwind, organic aerosol appears in quantities that rival SO4=, either as volatile organic vapors condense or as they react with the H2SO4. The DC-8 pattern allowed us to integrate total flux from the oil sands facilities within about a factor of two uncertainty that spanned values consistent with 2008 estimates from reported SO2 and NO2 emissions. In contrast, CO fluxes exceeded reported regional emissions, due either to variability in production or sources missing from the emissions inventory. The conversion rate of SO2 to aerosol SO4= of ~6% per hour is consistent with earlier reports, though OH concentrations are insufficient to accomplish this. Other oxidation pathways must be active. Altogether, organic aerosol and black carbon emissions from the oil sands operations are small compared with the forest fires present in the region during the summer. The oil sands do contribute significant sulfate and exceed fire production of SO2 by an order of magnitude.

  2. Oil sands development contributes elements toxic at low concentrations to the Athabasca River and its tributaries

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oil sand mining, processing and tailings pond leakage has raised concerns about pollution of the Athabasca River. This study investigated 13 elements that are considered to be priority pollutants (PPE) under the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Act. In particular, it investigated the oil sand industry's release of those 13 elements via air and water to the Athabasca River and its watershed. The PPEs include Sb, As, Be, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Hg, Ni, Se, Ag, Tl, and Zn. Concern also exists over Sb, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Ni, and Se concentrations in water or sediment from the Athabasca River. Snowpack studies in 2008 revealed that all PPEs except selenium were greater near oil sands developments than at more remote sites. Bitumen upgraders and local oil sands development were sources of airborne emissions. Concentrations of Hg, Ni, and Tl in winter and all 13 PPEs in summer were greater in tributaries with watersheds disturbed by development than in less disturbed watersheds. During the summer, concentrations of all PPE in the Athabasca River were greater near developed areas than upstream of development. At sites downstream of development and within the Athabasca Delta, concentrations of all PPEs except Be and Se were greater than upstream of development. Canada's or Alberta's guidelines for the protection of aquatic life were exceeded for 7 PPEs in melted snow or water collected near or downstream of development. It was concluded that contrary to claims made by industry and government, the oil sands industry significantly increases loadings of toxic PPEs to the Athabasca River and its tributaries via air and water pathways. 40 refs., 3 figs.

  3. The oil and gas industry in Alberta: drilling and production

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This document outlined the impacts of drilling and production on the forest structure and integrity. The cumulative impact of all 11,898 wells drilled in 2000 in Alberta, coupled with previously drilled wells that is of primary concern. It is estimated that an 886 square kilometres area of the boreal forest has been cleared as a result of well drilling, based on an assumption of 1 hectare cleared per well site. No regulations govern the reforestation of the areas once the activities have been terminated, and nothing to regulate the cumulative road densities or pipeline densities. A progressive loss and fragmentation of habitat, increased access, and damage to aquatic systems are all consequences of the drilling and production activities. These activities also lead to the contamination of soil and water. Reductions in air quality are associated with drilling and production activities, mainly through the release of various gases in the atmosphere, such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, both responsible for acid rain deposition. Explicit limits on cumulative densities of well sites, pipelines and access roads are part of best practices that can result in a minimization of the negative environmental impacts. Integrated planning with the forest industry, the development and implementation of new operating practices, and a reduction in the pace of development would also go a long way toward the reduction of the ecological footprint

  4. Marrying project deliverability models and labour supply for the oil sands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Albright, R.; Whitaker, C.A. [Fluor Canada Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2005-07-01

    Alberta is predicting a labour shortage to support the construction and operation of planned oil sands projects in the region. This paper provided a framework of options available to stakeholders in addressing resource constraints from the viewpoint of Fluor Canada Ltd. A background of previous projects was presented, which highlighted various strategies used in the management of human resources issues. Strategies included local hiring through the Alberta-based trade unions; recruitment from other Canadian provinces; a higher ratio of apprentices; extremely high utilization crew schedules; and extended use of overtime. It was noted that these strategies resulted in some cost overruns and lower productivity levels. A productivity analysis was used to determine and resolve productivity issues. Various regulations in Alberta were discussed in relation to training programs and skilled immigrants. Various international training facilities operated by Fluor were reviewed. A factor model of human resources issues was presented. Summaries of supply chain management, systems, and technologies were presented. Issues concerning prefabrication, pre-assembly, modularization and offsite fabrication were discussed. It was concluded that by taking advantage of lessons learned in previous projects a solid foundation is set from which to plan for future requirements. Successful project execution is achieved by taking advantage of current technology; enhancing modular construction standards; and using supply chain management techniques and enhanced labour supply solutions. tabs., figs.

  5. The state of oil sands wetland reclamation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Foote, L. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    The state of oil sand and wetlands reclamation was the subject of this presentation. Wildlife habitat and response, plant community and production, and microbial biology were examples of research areas surrounding this body of knowledge. Hydrological research and landscape ecology were discussed along with peatlands and marshes such as the Corvette and the Kia. A few examples of what has been learned in the area of wetlands reclamation was presented. Other topics were also discussed, such as timeframes, pragmatic policy approaches, reclamation costs, research needs and some ideas on maturing the field. It was concluded that environmental conditions change with time and area because of time, chemistry, physics, stoichiometry, as well as biotic mediation and facilitation. figs.

  6. Effects of oil sands sediments on fish

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Parrott, J.; Colavecchia, M.; Hewitt, L.; Sherry, J.; Headley, J. [Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON (Canada); Turcotte, D.; Liber, K. [Saskatchewan Univ., Regina, SK (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    This paper described a collaborative project organized by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Panel of Energy Research and Development (PERD) with researchers from Environment Canada and the University of Saskatchewan. The 4-year study was conducted to assess the toxicity of oil sands sediments and river waters, and reclamation ponds and sediments on laboratory-raised fish. Three sediments from rivers were evaluated for their potential to cause adverse impacts on fathead minnow eggs and larvae for a period of 18 days. The study monitored hatching, larval survival, development, and growth. Naphthenic acids (NA), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metals were measured in the sediments to determine if the compounds can be correlated with observed toxicity. The study will also assess walleye eggs exposed to sediments, and in situ fish exposures. Toxicity identification and evaluation (TIE) studies will be conducted to isolate the fractions that may affect fish development and growth.

  7. Effects of oil sands sediments on fish

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This paper described a collaborative project organized by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Panel of Energy Research and Development (PERD) with researchers from Environment Canada and the University of Saskatchewan. The 4-year study was conducted to assess the toxicity of oil sands sediments and river waters, and reclamation ponds and sediments on laboratory-raised fish. Three sediments from rivers were evaluated for their potential to cause adverse impacts on fathead minnow eggs and larvae for a period of 18 days. The study monitored hatching, larval survival, development, and growth. Naphthenic acids (NA), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metals were measured in the sediments to determine if the compounds can be correlated with observed toxicity. The study will also assess walleye eggs exposed to sediments, and in situ fish exposures. Toxicity identification and evaluation (TIE) studies will be conducted to isolate the fractions that may affect fish development and growth.

  8. Petro-Canada's oil sands supply outlook

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A report by the Canadian Energy Research Institute suggests that by 2017, production from the Athabasca Oil Sands could reach as high as 3.5 million barrels per day (mbpd), or it could be as low as 1.1 mbpd. This uncertainty in production is due to several variables such as capital costs, project size, reservoir quality, pipeline capacity and workforce productivity. Other factors that influence production include marginal economics, markets and prices, investor confidence, stakeholder concerns and the Kyoto Protocol. The production level that will be achieved by 2017 will depend on how industry address these emerging issues. The author discussed these issues in detail with particular reference to the approach that Petro-Canada has taken to address the challenges. Suggestions to reduce the potential impacts of these challenges were also presented. tabs., figs

  9. Institutionalizing environmental due diligence as part of the organization's culture: The Suncor Oil Sands Group experience

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Suncor Oil Sands Group produces ca 22 million bbl/y of synthetic crude oil from oil sands in northern Alberta. Initiatives taken by the Group to install environmental due diligence as an integral part of Suncor culture are reviewed. Environmental due diligence means taking all reasonable care to safeguard the environment. To practice environmental due diligence, the organization and its members must have an environmental consciousness that can be observed, measured, and monitored through daily practices. In the period from startup of the oil sands plant in 1967 to the mid-1970s, Suncor culture could be described as research oriented, oriented toward examination of the viability of extracting oil from the oil sands and the development of new extraction processes. Management then moved toward a more production-based culture, in which environmental issues were sometimes perceived to be in conflict with production goals. External factors toward the end of the 1980s created a culture shift to an integration of production culture with social entities including environmental consciousness. A corporate push toward a new environmental culture was first concretized when the management's Health and Safety Policy was changed in 1990 to the Health, Safety and Environment Policy. A new Environmental Diligence Program was implemented in three phases, including planning, development of a comprehensive environmental management system, and implementation. Installation of the Program in the first phase is described, focusing on employee and management training, and results of the installation process are presented. Modifications of Suncor's loss control management program to integrate with the environmental diligence program are also noted. 2 refs

  10. Biodegradation and origin of oil sands in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Zhou Shuqing; Huang Haiping; Liu Yuming

    2008-01-01

    The oil sands deposits in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) comprise of at least 85% of the total immobile bitumen in place in the world and are so concentrated as to be virtually the only such deposits that are economically recoverable for conversion to oil.The major deposits are in three geographic and geologic regions of Alberta: Athabasca,Cold Lake and Peace River.The bitumen reserves have oil gravities ranging from 8 to 12° API,and are hosted in the reservoirs of varying age,ranging from Devonian (Grosmont Formation) to Early Cretaceous (Mannville Group).They were derived from light oils in the southern Alberta and migrated to the north and east for over 100 km during the Laramide Orogeny,which was responsible for the uplift of the Rocky Mountains.Biodegradation is the only process that transforms light oil into bitumen in such a dramatic way that overshadowed other alterations with minor contributions.The levels of biodegradation in the basin increasing from west (non-biodegraded) to east (extremely biodegraded) can be attributed to decreasing reservoir temperature,which played the primary role in controlling the biodegradation regime.Once the reservoir was heated to approximately 80 ℃,it was pasteurized and no biodegradation would further occur.However,reservoir temperature could not alone predict the variations of the oil composition and physical properties.Compositional gradients and a wide range of biodegradation degree at single reservoir column indicate that the water-leg size or the volume ratio of oil to water is one of the critical local controls for the vertical variations of biodegradation degree and oil physical properties.Late charging and mixing of the fresh and degraded oils ultimately dictate the final distribution of compositions and physical properties found in the heavy oil and oil sand fields.Oil geochemistry can reveal precisely the processes and levels that control these variations in a given field,which opens the

  11. Aging effects on oil-contaminated Kuwaiti sand

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Large quantities of oil-contaminated sands resulted from the destruction of oil wells and the formation of oil lakes in Kuwait at the end of the Gulf Wa/r. A laboratory testing program was carried out to determine the geotechnical properties of this material and the effect of aging on their properties. Tests included direct shear, triaxial, and consolidation tests on clean and contaminated sand at the same relative density. The influence of aging was examined by testing uncontaminated sand after aging for one, three, and six months in natural environmental conditions. The results indicated increased strength and stiffness due to aging and a reduction of the oil content due to evaporation of volatile compounds. The factors that influence the depth of oil penetration in compacted sand columns were also examined including the type of oil, relative density, and the amount of fines

  12. Co-occurrence of methanogenesis and N2 fixation in oil sands tailings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Collins, C E Victoria; Foght, Julia M; Siddique, Tariq

    2016-09-15

    Oil sands tailings ponds in northern Alberta, Canada have been producing biogenic gases via microbial metabolism of hydrocarbons for decades. Persistent methanogenic activity in tailings ponds without any known replenishment of nutrients such as fixed nitrogen (N) persuaded us to investigate whether N2 fixation or polyacrylamide (PAM; used as a tailings flocculant) could serve as N sources. Cultures comprising mature fine tailings (MFT) plus methanogenic medium supplemented with or deficient in fixed N were incubated under an N2 headspace. Some cultures were further amended with citrate, which is used in oil sands processing, as a relevant carbon source, and/or with PAM. After an initial delay, N-deficient cultures with or without PAM produced methane (CH4) at the same rate as N-containing cultures, indicating a mechanism of overcoming apparent N-deficiency. Acetylene reduction and (15)N2 incorporation in all N-deficient cultures (with or without PAM) suggested active N2 fixation concurrently with methanogenesis but inability to use PAM as a N source. 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing revealed little difference between archaeal populations regardless of N content. However, bacterial sequences in N-deficient cultures showed enrichment of Hyphomicrobiaceae and Clostridium members that might contain N2-fixing species. The results are important in understanding long-term production of biogenic greenhouse gases in oil sands tailings. PMID:27177137

  13. NorthernLights Transmission : bringing competitive cogen energy from the oil sands to west coast markets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    NorthernLights Transmission is an initiative by TransCanada that proposes 2 major high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission lines to bring low cost, fossil fuelled and renewable generation from the Fort McMurray area to growing electricity markets in the Pacific Northwest, Nevada, Arizona and California. This presentation demonstrated why oil sands cogeneration, shipped via NorthernLights Transmission, is a very attractive resource for these markets. It was shown that the best generation resources are tied to natural resources such as coal, wind, oil sands cogeneration and hydro. Both the Pacific Northwest and California markets prefer low carbon dioxide generation. The proposed HVDC transmission lines would maximize the use of existing energy infrastructure corridors and rights-of-way where possible. This paper presented details of the proposed Celilo Project and the Inland Project, and noted that both are attractive from a technical and economic perspective. The transmission line for the Celilo project would originate in Fort McMurray and connect highly efficient cogeneration and other developing forms of generation to growing loads in the Pacific Northwest and northern California. The cogeneration plants will supply steam and electricity to northern Alberta's oil sands developments along with surplus electricity for export. tabs., figs

  14. The ERCB's [Energy Resources Conservation Board] role in the development and reclamation of oil sands projects

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Under the Oil Sands Conservation Act, the Energy Resources Conservation Board is charged with the responsibility for many aspects of oil sands development. Included among these is ensuring the orderly, efficient and economical development, in the public interest, of the oil sands resources of Alberta. All aspects of resource development, including resource exploitation, production processing design, waste storage and handling, land disturbance and reclamation, must be considered in the original project application. In addition, continued surveillance, research and field testing of development and reclamation techniques is essential for success. The Board's role, from the project application to reclamation/abandonment stages, is discussed, as well as the Board's views on industry's role in full-cycle resource development. The use of deviated and horizontal well drilling has potential to greatly reduce land disturbance and associated issues. Key areas warranting attention are subsidence potential, confirmation of acceptable oily waste storage and disposal techniques, and final reclamation of suspended or abandoned sites. 4 refs., 4 figs

  15. A crash programme scenario for the Canadian oil sands industry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The report Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management, by Robert L. Hirsch et al., concludes that Peak Oil is going to happen and that worldwide large-scale mitigation efforts are necessary to avoid its possible devastating effects for the world economy. These efforts include accelerated production, referred to as crash programme production, from Canada's oil sands. The objective of this article is to investigate and analyse what production levels that might be reasonable to expect from a crash programme for the Canadian oil sands industry, within the time frame 2006-2018 and 2006-2050. The implementation of a crash programme for the Canadian oil sands industry is associated with serious difficulties. There is not a large enough supply of natural gas to support a future Canadian oil sands industry with today's dependence on natural gas. It is possible to use bitumen as fuel and for upgrading, although it seems to be incompatible with Canada's obligations under the Kyoto treaty. For practical long-term high production, Canada must construct nuclear facilities to generate energy for the in situ projects. Even in a very optimistic scenario Canada's oil sands will not prevent Peak Oil. A short-term crash programme from the Canadian oil sands industry achieves about 3.6 mb/d by 2018. A long-term crash programme results in a production of approximately 5 mb/d by 2030

  16. Development of wear resistant nanostructured duplex coatings by high velocity oxy-fuel process for use in oil sands industry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saha, Gobinda C; Khan, Tahir I; Glenesk, Larry B

    2009-07-01

    Oil sands deposits in Northern Alberta, Canada represent a wealth of resources attracting huge capital investment and significant research focus in recent years. As of 2005, crude oil production from the current oil sands operators accounted for 50% of Canada's domestic production. Alberta's oil sands deposits contain approximately 1.7 trillion barrels of bitumen, of which over 175 billion are recoverable with current technology, and 315 billion barrels are ultimately recoverable with technological advances. A major problem of operating machinery and equipment in the oil sands is the unpredictable failure from operating in this highly aggressive environment. One of the significant causes of that problem is premature material wear. An approach to minimize this wear is the use of protective coatings and, in particular, a cermet thin coating. A high level of coating homogeneity is critical for components such as bucketwheels, draglines, conveyors, shovels, heavyhauler trucks etc. that are subjected to severe degradation through abrasive wear. The identification, development and application of optimum wear solutions for these components pose an ongoing challenge. Nanostructured cermet coatings have shown the best results of achieving the degree of homogeneity required for these applications. In this study, WC-17Co cermet powder with nanocrystalline WC core encapsulated with 'duplex' Co layer was used to obtain a nanostructured coating. To apply this coating, high velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) thermal spraying technique was used, as it is known for producing wear-resistant coatings superior to those obtained from plasma-based techniques. Mechanical, sliding wear and microstructural behavior of the coating was compared with those of the microstructured coating obtained from spraying WC-10Co-4Cr cermet powder by HVOF technique. Results from the nanostructured coating, among others, showed an average of 25% increase in microhardness, 30% increase in sliding wear resistance and

  17. Modelling the behavior of an oil saturated sand

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The experiments carried out in an earlier study show the oil contamination affects the strength and deformation characteristics of a crushed quartz sand. In the present study, a mathematical soil model is used to simulate the mechanical behavior of the same sand. The model parameters are determined for both clean and oil contaminated soil. Simulations are made for the stress-strain behavior of the soil in drained and undrained conventional traixial compression tests. In order to illustrate the effect of changes in the soil properties on the behavior of an engineering structure, a finite element analysis is carried out. In this paper comparative results are presented to show the differences in the behavior of a foundation resting on a clean sand, on an oil contaminated sand, and on a sand contaminated locally

  18. The Recovery of Oil from Oil/Sand Slurries in a Laboratory-Scale Flotation Cell

    OpenAIRE

    E. V. Lau; Foo, K. L.; P. E. Poh

    2013-01-01

    Oil/sand slurries are found abundantly particularly at petroleum refineries. The ability to recover oil from these oil/sand slurries is an added advantage to meet the increasing need in oil consumption. Thus, this research aims to investigate the effects of temperature and pH in the recovery of oil from oil/sand slurries using the flotation technique. The critical operating temperature and optimum pH condition are determined to be at 50oC and pH 9 respectively, whereby the maximum average oil...

  19. Geophysical surveys for oil sands development

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dawson, J.; Henderson, J. [Associated Geosciences Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    This article discussed two electromagnetic methods used in aerial geophysical surveys for addressing geotechnical issues related to resource extraction, namely Airborne Time Domain Electromagnetics (TEM) and Airborne Frequency Domain Electromagnetics. Electromagnetic methods identify contrasts in electrical conductivity, and the resulting data are interpreted according to how the measured electrical properties relate to the geologic units of interest. It is necessary to understand the limitations of the data to avoid misinterpreting the geophysical results. Both methods resolve the resistivity of the earth's subsurface but use different operations to do so, and both rely on the degree of contrast in the electrical characteristics of successive lithologies, target thickness, and the depth of occurrence for success. Inverse modelling is used to convert the results into a map of resistivity. The techniques can be used for economically mapping the location and thickness of cap rock, covering more area at less cost than drilling, creating maps of potential aquifers and paleo-channels that may control water flow, identifying local supplies of aggregates for road requirements, and mapping the location and depth of muskeg. It was concluded that these geophysical survey methods can cost-effectively provide useful information for oil sands development. 2 refs., 1 tab., 5 figs.

  20. Biodegradation of cycloalkane carboxylic acids in oil sand tailings

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The biodegradation of both an n-alkane and several carboxylated cycloalkanes was examined experimentally within tailings produced by the extraction of bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands. The carboxylated cycloalkanes examined were structurally similar to naphthenic acids that have been associated with the acute toxicity of oil sand tailings. The biodegradation potential of naphthenic acids was estimated by determining the biodegradation of both the carboxylated cycloalkanes and hexadecane in oil sand tailings. Carboxylated cycloalkanes were biodegraded within oil sands tailings, although compounds with methyl substitutions on the cycloalkane ring were more resistant to microbial degradation. Microbial activity against hexadecane and certain carboxylated cycloalkanes was found to be nitrogen and phosphorus limited. 21 refs., 3 refs., 1 tab

  1. University of Utah Oil Sand Research and Development Program

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oblad, A.G.; Bunger, J.W.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1993-12-31

    An overview of the Oil Sand Research and Development Program at the University of Utah will be presented. It will include resource characterization of the Uinta Basin oils and deposits and bitumens and bitumen-derived liquid recovery and upgrading technology and product utilization. The characterization studies will include the Whiterocks and Asphalt Ridge oil sands. The discussion of recovery and upgrading technologies will include aqueous separation, thermal recovery processes; solvent extraction, and thermal and catalytic upgrading of bitumen and bitumen-derived heavy oils. Product evaluation studies will include jet fuels, diesel fuel, asphalt and specialty chemicals. Plans for the future of the project will be discussed.

  2. Cell abundance and microbial community composition along a complete oil sand mining and reclamation process

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lappé, M.; Schneider, B.; Kallmeyer, J.

    2012-12-01

    Hydrocarbons constitute an important energy source for microbes but can also be of environmental concern. Microbial activity causes hydrocarbon degradation and thereby loss of economical value, but also helps to remove hydrocarbons from the environment. The present study characterizes the abundance of microbes along the oil sand mining process in Alberta, Canada, as a first approach to assess the impact of mining and oil extraction on the microbial population. After mining the oil is extracted from the sediment by a hot-water extraction (50-60°C), resulting in three major fractions: crude oil, tailings sand and fine tailings. The tailings sand is used as substratum for newly developing soils on the reclamation areas. The very liquid fine tailings still have a TOC content of about 4.3% and are pumped into tailings ponds, where they need up to three decades to settle and solidify. After deposition, these mature fine tailings (MFTs) are enriched in organics (TOC content between 9.6 and 16.8%) and dredged out of the ponds and put on dumps for several years for dewatering. Finally they are brought out onto the reclamation sites and deposited below the sand layer. Cells were extracted from oily sediments according to the protocol of Lappé and Kallmeyer (2011), stained with SYBR Green I and counted by fluorescence microscopy. Cell abundance in the unprocessed oil sand is around 1.6 x 107 cells cm-3. After processing the fresh fine tailings still contain around 1.6 x 107 cells cm-3. Cell counts in the processed MFTs are 5.8 x 107 cells cm-3, whereas in the sand used as substratum for newly developing soils, they are twice as high (1.4 x 108). In root-bearing horizons, cell counts reach 1.1 x 109 cell cm-3. Cell numbers calculated from cultivation experiments are in the same range. Higher cell counts in the tailings sand are probably due to a higher nitrogen supply through the addition of a 35 cm top layer of a peat-mineral mix. In the sand nitrate concentrations are high

  3. A First Assessment of the Elemental Composition of Atmospheric Aerosols in the Canadian Oil Sands Region

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dabek-Zlotorzynska E.

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Canadian Oil Sands, which comprise 97% of Canada’s 176 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, are located beneath 140,200 km2 of boreal forests, prairies and wetlands, and are the second largest known deposit of crude oil in the world. As such, this region has experienced rapid industrial development, which resulted also in increasing industrial air emissions, primarily from bitumen upgrading and mine vehicle fleet operations. This rapid development has led to concerns regarding health risk to humans, and other terrestrial and aquatic wildlife associated with exposure to toxic contaminants, especially metals and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs particularly along the Athabasca River and its watershed. Canada’s Minister of the Environment announced that Environment Canada (EC will jointly lead, in collaboration with Government of Alberta and relevant stakeholders, the development and implementation of an enhanced monitoring system in the Oil Sands region to provide information on the state of the air, water, land andbiodiversity. This work presents preliminary data on the first assessment of elemental composition of fine particulate matter (particles<2.5 mm in diameter; PM2.5 at 3 air quality sites in close proximity to Oil Sands processing activities. Since December 2010, integrated 24 hour air samples were collected every sixth day on a 47-mm Teflon filters using Thermo Fisher Partisol 2000-FRM samplers operated by the National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS network that involves EC and the Canadian provinces and territories. All samples including laboratory, travel and field blanks were subjected to gravimetric determination of PM2.5 mass and energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (ED-XRF analysis for 46 elements. Since ED-XRF is a non-destructive technique, PM2.5 samples were subsequently analyzed for 37 trace elements including rare earth elements using inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS combined with microwave

  4. Long-term recovery of peat bogs oiled by pipeline spills in northern Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sites in northern Alberta, in which oil spills occurred more than 23 years ago, were revisited. The Nipisi spill occurred when a rupture in the underground oil pipeline leaked 60,000 barrels of crude into a 25 acre bog, with very little drainage. It was one of the largest spills in Canadian history. The Rainbow spill was into a fen that was draining by subsurface seepage. Treatments at the time included burning, tilling, and fertilizer addition. The sites were revisited in order to take samples and to evaluate both the natural and enhanced recovery and the effectiveness of the cleanup techniques. The long-term persistence of oil residues and changes in oil character resulting from weathering and biodegradation over time, were studied. Results showed that samples of oil residue and vegetation were still highly contaminated with oil which was heavily degraded. Subsurface samples were contaminated but the oil was only slightly degraded. The Nipisi site still had large areas devoid of vegetation. The unique drainage of peat bogs and the influence it has on rehabilitation was described. It was concluded that although the sites are recovering, they are doing so at a very slow pace and will require some more time to be complete. 12 refs., 4 tabs., 9 figs

  5. Conventional recovery : new frac technologies plus better royalty rates revive oil-related activity in Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The revolutionary application of hydraulic fracturing to horizontal wellbores took several years to be deployed on a significant scale in Alberta, even though the technology was locally developed, because the province lacked the appropriate fiscal regime to interest investors. The Province put forward revised drilling incentives, which combined with the prospect of drawing more oil out of known conventional oilfields via multi-stage fracs on horizontal wells has spurred activity. The technology can be used for both oil and gas targets but must be adjusted for differences in permeability in the formations, which results in different fracturing properties. The reduced permeability of tight gas formations also requires a frac treatment an order of magnitude greater than for tight oil formations. Different chemicals and proppant are applied to oil and gas targets. Downhole motors developed for horizontal drilling are now being applied to drilling vertical wells because they create a straighter hole. Oil-based mud is used in drilling shales instead of water-based mud because shales often have clays that interact with water. The oil reduces the lifespan of the rubber liners, so rubber compounds that are less susceptible are under development. To complement the efficiencies gained from horizontal fracing, a downhole tool that generates a fluid pulse in the reservoir has been developed. The pulse momentarily expands the rock's pore structure, helping to move fluid through the formation and allowing oil that has never before moved to flow freely. The wave technology is also applicable to remediating wells. 3 figs.

  6. Did you know? Petroleum industry fast facts : Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A brief summary of Alberta's petroleum industry is provided. In 1997, capital expenditures from the petroleum industry into Alberta's economy were more than $13 billion. The province is the largest crude oil and natural gas producer in Canada, employing some 215,000 people across the province. Of these 165,00 are directly, or indirectly employed in upstream activities, and about 50,000 in downstream activities, including pipeline transportation. The industry utilizes an extensive pipeline network with nearly 260,000 kilometres of pipeline serving local, national and international markets. The Alberta oil sands have more than 300 billion barrels of potential recoverable deposits, comparable to the proven reserves in Saudi Arabia. Crude oil and natural gas make up nearly 56 per cent of Alberta's exports. In 1997, the province supplied almost 12 per cent of the U.S. natural gas consumption. 3 figs

  7. Gill histopathology of goldfish exposed to oil sands processed-waters

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Large volumes of processed wastewater are generated through the oil extraction process at Alberta's Athabasca oil sand deposit. These wastewaters are very toxic to aquatic biota because they are high in salinity and consist of napthenic acids and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). In this study, goldfish were caged in 3 different experimental ponds in order to evaluate the biological effects of aquatic reclamation alternatives for process-affected waters. The first pond was a control pond, while the other 2 ponds consisted of known and varying chemicals. The fish were exposed to the ponds for 19 days. Those in the pond with elevated levels of napthenic acids and high salinity exhibited severe gill histopathological changes. Alterations included epithelial hyperplasia resulting in severe lamellar fusion, chloride cell hyperplasia, and lamellar edema, all of which were believed to be defense responses of the fish. Additional severe gill alterations were also observed that may indicate the direct negative effects of oil sands processed-water on fish. Exposed goldfish also showed signs of necrosis and degenerative changes resulting in desquamation of the epithelial surfaces of the gill, which are symptoms seen in free-range exposure of yellow perch, a native fish species, at the same sites and exposure times

  8. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The University of Utah tar sand research and development program is concerned with research and development on Utah is extensive oil sands deposits. The program has been intended to develop a scientific and technological base required for eventual commercial recovery of the heavy oils from oil sands and processing these oils to produce synthetic crude oil and other products such as asphalt. The overall program is based on mining the oil sand, processing the mined sand to recover the heavy oils and upgrading them to products. Multiple deposits are being investigated since it is believed that a large scale (approximately 20,000 bbl/day) plant would require the use of resources from more than one deposit. The tasks or projects in the program are organized according to the following classification: Recovery technologies which includes thermal recovery methods, water extraction methods, and solvent extraction methods; upgrading and processing technologies which covers hydrotreating, hydrocracking, and hydropyrolysis; solvent extraction; production of specialty products; and environmental aspects of the production and processing technologies. These tasks are covered in this report

  9. Alberta propylene upgrading prospects

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A very significant byproduct recovery and purification scheme is at present being prepared by TransCanada Midstream (TCMS). Alberta Economic Development commissioned an independent study to identify propylene supply options while proceeding with the evaluation of various propylene derivatives with regard to their fit with the Alberta context. Identification of chemical companies with derivative interests was also accomplished. By 2005, it is estimated that 280 kilo-tonnes of propylene will be available on an annual basis from byproduct sources. Those sources are oil sands upgraders, ethylene plants and refineries. The ranges of impurities and supply costs vary between the different sources. An option being considered involves pipeline and rail receipt with a major central treating and distillation facility for the production of polymer grade (PG) propylene with propane and other smaller byproducts. Special consideration was given to three chemicals in this study, namely: polypropylene (PP), acrylonitrile (ACN), and acrylic acid (AA). Above average growth rates were identified for these chemicals: demand is growing at 6 to 7 per cent a year for both PP and ACN, while demand for AA grows at 8 per cent annually. Two other possibilities were identified, propylene oxide (PO) and phenol. The study led to the conclusion that low capital and operating costs and shipping costs to the Pacific Rim represent advantages to the development of propylene derivatives in the future in Alberta. 4 refs., 87 tabs., 7 figs

  10. Running out of steam? Oil sands development and water use in the Athabasca River watershed : science and market based solutions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This paper contained 2 reports conducted to assess the implications of current and planned water withdrawals from the Athabasca River, and options for water management. This first section examined future water flows and human withdrawals from the Athabasca River, and examined forecasted changes in climate in the oil sands region. Issues related to water flow, water quality, and instream flow needs were discussed. The second section examined options available to the industry. Alberta's current water use framework was discussed, and new policy targets and mechanisms were analyzed. 72 refs., 21 figs

  11. Application of TIE's in assessing toxicity associated with oil sands process waters

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The hot water digestion process which separates bitumen from oil sands produces large volumes of process-affected waters which are extremely toxic to aquatic organisms. At Syncrude Canada's northeastern Alberta plant, the toxic waters are contained on the site and none are discharged. Organic acids, hydrocarbons and salts are leached into the tailings waters. A toxicity identification evaluation (TIE) test was used to confirm the main contributors to the acute toxicity in these waters. A battery bioassay approach as well as field and laboratory testing was used to understand the source, pathway and duration of the toxicity. Bioassays helped in developing ways in which to mitigate toxicity issues in both reclamation and operational waters. It was demonstrated that natural bioremediation of process-affected waters can reduce acute and chronic toxicity. The long term reclamation impacts of these waters has yet to be determined

  12. Value of Canadian oil sands... to the United States

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Since the beginning of the recession in late 2007, the American economy has been subject to great change, affecting the way energy is produced and consumed. The structure of oil imports and exports has changed significantly and U.S. imports are now primarily from Canada. The current study shows how and why the U.S. has become dependent on imports of oil from the Canadian oil sands. Oil from Canadian oil sands is transported to different Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts (PADD) via the Keystone pipeline. As imports from Canada increased, the U.S. refinery sector was restructured. Small refineries were closed while larger refineries were expanded and investment was made to increase their processing capacity. The increased import and processing of oil from the Canadian oil sands led to an advantageous decrease in oil prices. If the Keystone XL project were to be approved, the pipeline would increase the area with access to the means of transporting oil, allowing the increasing demand for oil to be met and, potentially, stabilizing world oil prices.

  13. The effect of modifying factors on the toxicity of oil sands reclamation sediments to medaka embryo development

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    High levels of alkylated polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) and naphthenic acids (NAs) are found in aquatic oilsands reclamation sites in northern Alberta. These compounds have been shown to induce signs of blue sac disease (BSD) in numerous fish species. Slight phytotoxicity was noted in fish embryos exposed to an oil sands derived PAC mixture and ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. Although it is known that NAs are less toxic than PACs for fish embryo development, it is not clear if low levels of NAs affect the toxicity of PACs. This study evaluated the effects of oil sands aquatic reclamation sediments and modifying factors, such as exposure to NA and UV, on the development of Japanese medaka embryos exposed to sediments from a range of oil sands aquatic reclamation strategies and mature fine tailings. Prior to exposure to medaka embryos, oil sands reclamation sediments were mixed with water containing different levels of NAs. For each sediment treatment, replicates were exposed to simulated solar radiation with and without UV. The embryos were checked for deformities and hatch length upon hatching. It was concluded that modifying factors should be considered when choosing reclamation options to reduce toxicity

  14. Food web structure in oil sands reclaimed wetlands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kovalenko, K E; Ciborowski, J J H; Daly, C; Dixon, D G; Farwell, A J; Foote, A L; Frederick, K R; Costa, J M Gardner; Kennedy, K; Liber, K; Roy, M C; Slama, C A; Smits, J E G

    2013-07-01

    Boreal wetlands play an important role in global carbon balance. However, their ecosystem function is threatened by direct anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. Oil sands surface mining in the boreal regions of Western Canada denudes tracts of land of organic materials, leaves large areas in need of reclamation, and generates considerable quantities of extraction process-affected materials. Knowledge and validation of reclamation techniques that lead to self-sustaining wetlands has lagged behind development of protocols for reclaiming terrestrial systems. It is important to know whether wetlands reclaimed with oil sands process materials can be restored to levels equivalent to their original ecosystem function. We approached this question by assessing carbon flows and food web structure in naturally formed and oil sands-affected wetlands constructed in 1970-2004 in the postmining landscape. We evaluated whether a prescribed reclamation strategy, involving organic matter amendment, accelerated reclaimed wetland development, leading to wetlands that were more similar to their natural marsh counterparts than wetlands that were not supplemented with organic matter. We measured compartment standing stocks for bacterioplankton, microbial biofilm, macrophytes, detritus, and zoobenthos; concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and residual naphthenic acids; and microbial production, gas fluxes, and aquatic-terrestrial exports (i.e., aquatic insect emergence). The total biomass of several biotic compartments differed significantly between oil sands and reference wetlands. Submerged macrophyte biomass, macroinvertebrate trophic diversity, and predator biomass and richness were lower in oil sands-affected wetlands than in reference wetlands. There was insufficient evidence to conclude that wetland age and wetland amendment with peat-mineral mix mitigate effects of oil sands waste materials on the fully aquatic biota. Although high variability was observed within

  15. Do Massive Oil Sands Developments in a Northern Watershed Lead to an Impending Crisis?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kienzle, S. W.; Byrne, J.; Schindler, D.; Komers, P.

    2005-12-01

    Oil sands developments in northern Alberta are land disruptions of massive proportions, with potentially major impacts on watersheds. Alberta has one of the largest known oil reserves in the world, and developments have about 25,000 sqkm of lease areas, and have approvals for plants to develop over half a million ha (or 54 townships). This is 91% the size of Lake Erie covered mainly with tailings dams, open-pit mines and associated massive removal of forests, wetlands, and soils. With rising oil prices and declining conventional reserves, the current production of about 900,000 barrels per day will dramatically increase. There is considerable confusion over how much water is needed to extract and refine the oil. Best estimated by oil companies are 6 to 10 barrels of water for each barrel of oil. Shell Oil is aiming to bring the water to oil ratio down to 3, however, this is not yet achieved. Trend analysis of the Athabasca streamflow shows that the streamflow is declining, particularly the low flow during winter. In order to sustain a minimum flow that ensures a relatively healthy aquatic environment, the only option the oil sands companies have to ensure uninterrupted production during winter is to build large water reservoirs, which would be filled during the high flow period in spring or summer. A disturbing fact is that this need for reservoirs was never considered until a science panel initiated by the Mikesew Cree First Nation participated in two hearings in the fall of 2003, when two major oil companies applied for licenses of a massive scale each. In the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), water was to be extracted throughout the year, consequently threatening in-stream flow needs at some point in the future. Less than 1% has been reclaimed so far, with questionable success, as the new landscape will be a relatively sterile landscape with minimal biological diversity. Reclamation liabilities need to be included in mining leases. The release of

  16. Freeze-thaw dewatering to reclaim oil sands oil sands fine tails to a dry landscape

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Freeze-thaw dewatering design concepts for oil sands fine tails were described. Design models were presented, based on recent laboratory and field data that quantitatively outlined the volume separation and strength development associated with thin layered freeze-thaw dewatering strategies. The design calculations using these models predict that reclamation of the fine tails to a dry landscape was viable. For existing operations, it was shown that it was possible to freeze more tails than would thaw. A volume separation approaching 70% was estimated after five cycles of yearly placing, freezing and thawing. A prototype field freezing experiment was described and showed a 60% volume separation after one freeze-thaw cycle. 12 refs., 19 figs

  17. Application of the HTGR in tar sands oil recovery

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The study presented in this paper explored the potential application of a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) to supply both process steam and cogenerated electric power for tar sands oil recovery and upgrading. The raw product recovered from the tar sands is a heavy bitumen. Upgrading, which involves coking and hydrodesulfurization, produces a synthetic crude (refinable by current technology) and petroleum coke. Energy requirements by form for each process are considered. An HTGR plant could be the most economical source of steam and electric power. This paper includes a description of the HTGR plant, a heat cycle and energy balance developed for a typical commercial tar sands oil recovery operation, and a schematic field arrangement showing the coupling of the HTGR to the process. Data developed during this study include expected bitumen recovery, economic data, and a comparative assessment of the HTGR application for tar sands recovery

  18. Microbially-accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. Pathway II: solid phase biogeochemistry

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tariq eSiddique

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Consolidation of clay particles in aqueous tailings suspensions is a major obstacle to effective management of oil sands tailings ponds in northern Alberta, Canada. We have observed that microorganisms indigenous to the tailings ponds accelerate consolidation of mature fine tailings (MFT during active metabolism by using two biogeochemical pathways. In Pathway I, microbes alter porewater chemistry to indirectly increase consolidation of MFT. Here, we describe Pathway II comprising significant, direct and complementary biogeochemical reactions with MFT mineral surfaces. An anaerobic microbial community comprising Bacteria (predominantly Clostridiales, Synergistaceae and Desulfobulbaceae and Archaea (Methanolinea/Methanoregula and Methanosaeta transformed FeIII minerals in MFT to amorphous FeII minerals during methanogenic metabolism of an added organic substrate. Synchrotron analyses suggested that ferrihydrite (5Fe2O3. 9H2O and goethite (α-FeOOH were the dominant FeIII minerals in MFT. The formation of amorphous iron sulfide (FeS and possibly green rust entrapped and masked electronegative clay surfaces in amended MFT. Both Pathways I and II reduced the surface charge potential (repulsive forces of the clay particles in MFT, which aided aggregation of clays and formation of networks of pores, as visualized using cryo-scanning electron microscopy. These reactions facilitated the egress of porewater from MFT and increased consolidation of tailings solids. These results have large-scale implications for management and reclamation of oil sands tailings ponds, a burgeoning environmental issue for the public and government regulators.

  19. Microbially-accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. Pathway II: solid phase biogeochemistry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siddique, Tariq; Kuznetsov, Petr; Kuznetsova, Alsu; Li, Carmen; Young, Rozlyn; Arocena, Joselito M.; Foght, Julia M.

    2014-01-01

    Consolidation of clay particles in aqueous tailings suspensions is a major obstacle to effective management of oil sands tailings ponds in northern Alberta, Canada. We have observed that microorganisms indigenous to the tailings ponds accelerate consolidation of mature fine tailings (MFT) during active metabolism by using two biogeochemical pathways. In Pathway I, microbes alter porewater chemistry to indirectly increase consolidation of MFT. Here, we describe Pathway II comprising significant, direct and complementary biogeochemical reactions with MFT mineral surfaces. An anaerobic microbial community comprising Bacteria (predominantly Clostridiales, Synergistaceae, and Desulfobulbaceae) and Archaea (Methanolinea/Methanoregula and Methanosaeta) transformed FeIII minerals in MFT to amorphous FeII minerals during methanogenic metabolism of an added organic substrate. Synchrotron analyses suggested that ferrihydrite (5Fe2O3. 9H2O) and goethite (α-FeOOH) were the dominant FeIII minerals in MFT. The formation of amorphous iron sulfide (FeS) and possibly green rust entrapped and masked electronegative clay surfaces in amended MFT. Both Pathways I and II reduced the surface charge potential (repulsive forces) of the clay particles in MFT, which aided aggregation of clays and formation of networks of pores, as visualized using cryo-scanning electron microscopy (SEM). These reactions facilitated the egress of porewater from MFT and increased consolidation of tailings solids. These results have large-scale implications for management and reclamation of oil sands tailings ponds, a burgeoning environmental issue for the public and government regulators. PMID:24711806

  20. Health of domestic mallards (Anas platyrhynchos domestica) following exposure to oil sands process-affected water.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beck, Elizabeth M; Smits, Judit E G; St Clair, Colleen Cassady

    2014-01-01

    Bitumen extraction from the oil sands of northern Alberta produces large volumes of process-affected water that contains substances toxic to wildlife. Recent monitoring has shown that tens of thousands of birds land on ponds containing this water annually, creating an urgent need to understand its effects on bird health. We emulated the repeated, short-term exposures that migrating water birds are thought to experience by exposing pekin ducks (Anas platyrhynchos domestica) to recycled oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). As indicators of health, we measured a series of physiological (electrolytes, metabolites, enzymes, hormones, and blood cells) and toxicological (metals and minerals) variables. Relative to controls, juvenile birds exposed to OSPW had higher potassium following the final exposure, and males had a higher thyroid hormone ratio (T3/T4). In adults, exposed birds had higher vanadium, and, following the final exposure, higher bicarbonate. Exposed females had higher bile acid, globulin, and molybdenum levels, and males, higher corticosterone. However, with the exception of the metals, none of these measures varied from available reference ranges for ducks, suggesting OSPW is not toxic to juvenile or adult birds after three and six weekly, 1 h exposures, but more studies are needed to know the generality of this result. PMID:25003652

  1. Fine root dynamics in lodgepole pine and white spruce stands along productivity gradients in reclaimed oil sands sites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jamro, Ghulam Murtaza; Chang, Scott X; Naeth, M Anne; Duan, Min; House, Jason

    2015-10-01

    Open-pit mining activities in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, create disturbed lands that, by law, must be reclaimed to a land capability equivalent to that existed before the disturbance. Re-establishment of forest cover will be affected by the production and turnover rate of fine roots. However, the relationship between fine root dynamics and tree growth has not been studied in reclaimed oil sands sites. Fine root properties (root length density, mean surface area, total root biomass, and rates of root production, turnover, and decomposition) were assessed from May to October 2011 and 2012 using sequential coring and ingrowth core methods in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl.) and white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench.) Voss) stands. The pine and spruce stands were planted on peat mineral soil mix placed over tailings sand and overburden substrates, respectively, in reclaimed oil sands sites in Alberta. We selected stands that form a productivity gradient (low, medium, and high productivities) of each tree species based on differences in tree height and diameter at breast height (DBH) increments. In lodgepole pine stands, fine root length density and fine root production, and turnover rates were in the order of high > medium > low productivity sites and were positively correlated with tree height and DBH and negatively correlated with soil salinity (P < 0.05). In white spruce stands, fine root surface area was the only parameter that increased along the productivity gradient and was negatively correlated with soil compaction. In conclusion, fine root dynamics along the stand productivity gradients were closely linked to stand productivity and were affected by limiting soil properties related to the specific substrate used for reconstructing the reclaimed soil. Understanding the impact of soil properties on fine root dynamics and overall stand productivity will help improve land reclamation outcomes. PMID:26668730

  2. Nuclear energy for oil sands production: Providing security of energy and hydrogen supply at economic cost

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The development of Canada's 2000 EJ oil sands resource depends on a substantial energy input for extraction and upgrading. So far, this input has been supplied by natural gas, a resource that (a) is a premium fuel; (b) has limited availability; and (c) produces significant CO2 emissions. For the now preferred SAGD in-situ method of extracting oil-sands bitumen, nuclear heat can easily supply the steam at the ∼ 2.5 MPa requisite pressure. Studies by AECL and others show that steam from an Advanced CANDUTM Reactor (ACRTM) should produce steam for SAGD at lower cost than natural gas and also give far greater price stability. The large quantity of steam (2 to 2.5 volumes of condensate per volume of bitumen) for a typical project of 100 to 140 million barrels per day of bitumen provides a good match to the output of a 1900 MW(th) reactor, which would also produce about 200 MW of electricity. Electricity would be produced using a back-pressure turbine, yielding a very high overall energy efficiency. AECL work also shows economic competitiveness for electrolytic production of hydrogen, which is needed to upgrade the bitumen. Electrolysis would be interruptible, avoiding the short periods of high electricity prices experienced on the Alberta grid. Competitiveness with conventional steam-methane reforming is achieved by a combination of off-peak power and low-cost electrolytic cells. Using nuclear-generated steam and electricity produces negligible CO2, thus placing synthetic crude from the oil sands on a comparable basis to conventional crude with respect to greenhouse gas emissions. (author)

  3. Variation in toxicity response of Ceriodaphnia dubia to Athabasca oil sands coke leachates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Puttaswamy, Naveen; Turcotte, Dominique; Liber, Karsten

    2010-07-01

    Coke from the Athabasca (Alberta, Canada) oil sands operations may someday be integrated into reclamation landscapes. It is hypothesized that the metals associated with the solid coke may leach into the surrounding environment. Therefore, the main objectives of this study were to characterize the toxicity and chemistry of coke leachates collected from two field lysimeters (i.e. shallow lysimeter and deep lysimeter) over a period of 20months, as well as from other oil sands coke storage sites. In addition, a batch renewal leaching of coke was conducted to examine the rate of metals release. Chronic toxicity of key metals (e.g. Al, Mn, Ni and V) found in lysimeter coke leachate was evaluated separately. Toxicity test results revealed that whole coke leachates (100% v/v) were acutely toxic to Ceriodaphnia dubia; the 7-day LC50 values were always coke leachate. The deep lysimeter leachate was generally more toxic than the shallow lysimeter leachate, likely because of significantly higher concentrations of vanadium (V) found in the deep lysimeter leachate at all sampling times. Vanadium concentrations were higher than all other metals found in the leachate from both lysimeters, and in the batch renewal leaching study. Furthermore, V found in leachates collected from other oil sands field sites showed a concentration-response relationship with C. dubia survival. Mass balance calculations indicated that 94-98% of potentially leachable V fraction was still present in the coke from two field lysimeters. Evidence gathered from these assessments, including toxic unit (TU) calculations for the elements of concern, suggests that V was the likely cause of toxicity of the deep lysimeter leachate, whereas in the shallow lysimeter leachate both Ni and V could be responsible for the observed toxicity. PMID:20553931

  4. Performance of wetland forbs transplanted into marshes amended with oil sands processed water.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mollard, Federico P O; Roy, Marie-Claude; Foote, A Lee

    2015-03-01

    Companies mining oil sands in Alberta (Canada) face the challenge of reclaiming wetlands under water use restrictions. Wetland reclamation after mining will generate marshes characterized by elevated salinity and residual hydrocarbons. Oil sands wetlands are also impoverished in forbs, suggesting that their establishment may be constrained by water chemistry. We transplanted skullcap, mint, and smartweed plants into experimental trenches that simulated two possible reclamation scenarios: wetlands amended with on-site freshwater or with oil sands processed water (OSPW). The main scientific question was is OSPW a suitable water amendment as freshwater for reclaiming wetland forb habitat? As a surrogate of plant health, we studied plant ecophysiology (gas exchange, leaf fluorescence), leaf chemistry, and plant growth. Results showed that there were no differences in skullcap mineral contents under either treatment; however, mint and smartweed plants subjected to OSPW had a significantly higher Na content than those under freshwater. Smartweed dark-adapted leaf fluorescence showed a reduced photochemistry in OSPW relative to plants in freshwater. Mint leaves exhibited lower stomatal conductance in OSPW than in freshwater, a condition that negatively affected transpiration and carboxylation. Skullcap plants grown in OSPW had lower net CO2 assimilation rates than those in freshwater but did not show any other ecophysiological difference between treatments. Mint plants experienced growth reductions (i.e., shoot height) in OSPW. Our results show, for the first time in the literature, that plants photosynthetic capacity was negatively affected by OSPW. Conditions in OSPW proved to be suitable for establishment as transplanted forbs showed 100 % survival after the first growing season. However, impaired physiological functions in plants subjected to OSPW indicated that OSPW amendment created a less hospitable habitat for wetland forbs than freshwater. PMID:25697311

  5. Proceedings of the 2. international oil sands tailings conference

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The tailings produced by oil sands extraction processes pose significant threats to the surrounding environment in addition to releasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. Recent directives have been established to reduce the amount of tailings produced at oil sands operations, and to ensure that tailings ponds are reclaimed in the most effective manner. This conference provided a forum for researchers and industry experts to discuss issues related to the management and reclamation of oil sands tailings. New technologies for dewatering tailings ponds were presented, and methods of analyzing the chemical properties of tailings were reviewed. The conference was divided into the following 7 sessions: (1) tailings properties, (2) tailings dewatering, (3) new concepts, (4) water and chemistry, (5) soft tailings stabilization and reclamation, (6) water treatment, and (7) new concepts 2. The conference featured 44 presentations, all of which have been catalogued separately for inclusion in this database

  6. Engaging Canadians: national oil sands dialogues - A background paper

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    It is expected that the world's energy demand will grow significantly between now and the year 2050. Hydrocarbons will have an important role to play in meeting this increasing demand and unconventional sources such as oil sands will become more and more important. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has been engaged in a dialogue process to examine the environmental, economic and social impacts of the oil sands industry and the aim of this background paper is to provide stakeholders with some context. The paper highlights the fact that although the oil sands industry gives rise to environmental issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutants, land disturbance and water use, the environmental performance of the industry has been improving in recent years thanks to new technologies.

  7. Oil sands tailings dewatering - can it be done?

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Longo, S.; Francoeur, R.; Labelle, M. [Golder Paste Technology Ltd (Canada); Wislesky, I. [Golder Associates Ltd (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    The depletion of conventional energy resources and the rising energy demand are driving development of the oil sands industry. Oil sands operations generate large amounts of tailings and a new directive has been put in place by the Energy Resources Conservation Board to manage those tailings. The aim of this paper is to present research that has been carried out on dewatering the oil sands' multiple tailings streams. Laboratory and field experiments have been conducted on several tailings streams using different dewatering methods. Different dewatering technologies such as thickening, in-line flocculation, centrifuge, and co-mingling are presented herein as well as several deposition strategies such as thick lift, thin lift, cell structure, single end point discharge, and multiple spigot discharge. This paper provided useful information on the different dewatering and deposition methods available and demonstrated that each site has its unique solution and that all tailings streams can be dewatered to some extent.

  8. Understanding the Canadian oil sands industry's greenhouse gas emissions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The magnitude of Canada's oil sands reserves, their rapidly expanding and energy intensive production, combined with existing and upcoming greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions regulations motivate an evaluation of oil sands-derived fuel production from a life cycle perspective. Thirteen studies of GHG emissions associated with oil sands operations are reviewed. The production of synthetic crude oil (SCO) through surface mining and upgrading (SM and Up) or in situ and upgrading (IS and Up) processes is reported to result in emissions ranging from 62 to 164 and 99 to 176 kgCO2eq/bbl SCO, respectively (or 9.2-26.5 and 16.2-28.7 gCO2eq MJ-1 SCO, respectively), compared to 27-58 kgCO2eq/bbl (4.5-9.6 gCO2eq MJ-1) of crude for conventional oil production. The difference in emissions intensity between SCO and conventional crude production is primarily due to higher energy requirements for extracting bitumen and upgrading it into SCO. On a 'well-to-wheel' basis, GHG emissions associated with producing reformulated gasoline from oil sands with current SM and Up, IS and Up, and in situ (without upgrading) technologies are 260-320, 320-350, and 270-340 gCO2eq km-1, respectively, compared to 250-280 gCO2eq km-1 for production from conventional oil. Some variation between studies is expected due to differences in methods, technologies studied, and operating choices. However, the magnitude of the differences presented suggests that a consensus on the characterization of life cycle emissions of the oil sands industry has yet to be reached in the public literature. Recommendations are given for future studies for informing industry and government decision making.

  9. Survey of soil compaction on oil and gas leases in east-central Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A study was conducted to examine reasons for topsoil compaction at oil and gas well-sites. A survey of 20 well-sites in east-central Alberta was was made, comparing the six methods which are commonly used to evaluate soil compaction. The methods described were: bulk density, bulk density corrected for organic matter content, total porosity, estimated hydraulic conductivity, mechanical impedance, and macro-pore volume. The survey was also used to evaluate the extent of soil compaction on well-sites with different soil types and different reclamation conditions. It was shown that about one third of the well-sites had higher mechanical impedance than the adjacent farmland soils. The probable causes for topsoils being more frequently compacted than subsoils were also described. 33 refs., 10 tabs., 4 figs

  10. SAND & FINES IN MULTIPHASE OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION

    OpenAIRE

    Richard, Udoh Richard

    2013-01-01

    This thesis work focuses on multiphase flow in the oil and gas industry. As differences in temperatures and pressures come to play from the reservoir to the surface, in tubing and in pipelines, gas tend to dissolve and evolve out from oil, with water and solid particles making their way into the production flow stream, giving rise to a multiphase gas-liquid-solid production and transportation. A review of sand and fines production worldwide was carried out and concluded that sand production i...

  11. One last boom : Alberta's rapidly expanding oil mines may be the largest and messiest industrial projects in Canadian history

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The bitumen deposits of Alberta, 2.5 trillion barrels of oil, of which 300 billion are considered recoverable, represent the greatest single petroleum resources of the world, based on surface and subsurface calculations. Four deposits, covering an area the size of New Brunswick, are located in the area stretching from Cold Lake to Lloydminster (east of Edmonton), the upper reaches of the Athabasca River east to the Peace River. The largest by far is the Athabasca deposit in the vicinity of Fort McMurray, spread over 4.3 million hectares. The deposit is at the centre of the biggest industrial expansion witnessed by the province. Since 1996, 38 billion dollars worth of new projects have been announced. It is estimated that by 2025, the bulk of the national oil production will originate from open-pit mines and underground wells around Fort McMurray. This oil boom has economic benefits for the population, from welders to real estate agents to stakeholders. The environmental effects are not as beneficial. Huge strip mines are being carved next to the Athabasca River, with great amounts of greenhouse gases emissions. The Suncor and Syncrude oil-sands plants combined represent the fourth largest carbon dioxide emission source in Canada. The development of these projects dramatically affects global warming. The nitrogen and sulphur emissions could also acidify lakes and soil in the region. The Suncor mine resulted from the first boom to hit Fort McMurray in 1964. The Syncrude mine is the result of the second boom which took place in 1973. In 1996, Suncor installed a sulphur scrubber system that removes 95 per cent of sulphur dioxide from the electricity and steam-generation plant. Suncor also invested in various projects, such as wind-power, rainforest cultivation and biomass generation. The volume of pollution increases as the operations expand, even if operations are cleaner. If no new gains in pollution control are achieved, it is expected that by 2015, the total

  12. Biodegradation of MC252 oil in oil:sand aggregates in a coastal headland beach environment

    OpenAIRE

    Elango, Vijaikrishnah; Urbano, Marilany; Lemelle, Kendall R.; Pardue, John H.

    2014-01-01

    Unique oil:sand aggregates, termed surface residue balls (SRBs), were formed on coastal headland beaches along the northern Gulf of Mexico as emulsified MC252 crude oil mixed with sand following the Deepwater Horizon spill event. The objective of this study is to assess the biodegradation potential of crude oil components in these aggregates using multiple lines of evidence on a heavily-impacted coastal headland beach in Louisiana, USA. SRBs were sampled over a 19-month period on the supratid...

  13. And now for something completely different: condensation induced water hammer and steam assisted gravity drainage in the Athabasca Oil Sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Most people will have been exposed to some aspect of the debate about the Athabasca Oil Sands in North-Eastern Alberta and the significant role that the oil sands are expected to play in supplying conventional fossil fuels. Part of the bitumen is recovered from mines and part is recovered from in situ projects utilizing the Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage Process (SAGD). SAGD utilizes a considerable amount of steam, that is injected into geological formations. Hot water, bitumen and some vapour are recovered from the production wells. With significant steam generation, transmission and injection, there is the very real possibility of condensation induced water hammers. There have been a number of catastrophic failures to date. Two major failures will be highlighted: MEG Energy had a steam distribution line fail at the Christina Lake project. Large parts of the pipe, weighing some 2500 kg, were thrown some 800 meters into the bush during the failure; and, Total had a steam release (blowout) at their Joslyn property due to a loss of caprock containment. A number of causes have been postulated. While it is agreed that there was sufficient downhole pressure to hydraulically fracture the formation, questions have been raised about the contribution that condensation induced water hammer made. The situations that have occurred will be outlined, along with some preliminary thermal hydraulic work. The intent of the paper is to provide interesting background information on the in situ oil sands industry. More importantly, to show some interesting and broader applications of thermalhydraulics developed in the nuclear industry. The expertise developed may have potential markets, with some adaptation, to the oil sands industry. Finally, there has been some discussion about using nuclear power for steam generation in the oil sands. (author)

  14. An empirical analysis of the impacts of taxes and royalties on the supply of conventional crude oil in Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The economic impact of taxes, royalties and government fiscal policy tools on conventional crude oil supply in Alberta was examined. A dynamic economic model of Alberta's conventional petroleum industry was developed and used to evaluate the quantitative impacts of government fiscal policies on exploration and extraction of conventional crude oil in the province. It was determined that taxes and royalties can shorten the life of the industry, reduce activity level, reduce ultimate recovery of conventional crude oil, render more of the established reserves sub-economic and create social welfare loss. It was also revealed that compared to provincial corporate income tax and crown royalties, federal corporate income tax has a larger adverse effect on the performance of the industry in terms of creating higher dead-weight loss and shortening the life of the industry

  15. A novel and innovative process to produce oil from tar sands and heavy oil

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Denivelle, C. [OSEAD, Paris (France); Fourt, J.F. [Truffle Capital, Paris (France)

    2009-07-01

    Oil sands extraction by adsorption (OSEAD) was created in October 2006 to develop an innovative hydrocarbon extraction technology from oil sands. It has since grown by taking control of a lead, zinc and silver mine in Morocco. This paper discussed the novel and innovative OSEAD process to produce oil from tar sands and heavy oil. The paper provided a description of the oil sand samples and discussed lab testing. The adsorption and desorption phases were both outlined. The main properties of the agent were identified. A summary of the test work results was also presented. The optimized OSEAD process includes an ore preparation step involving mixing of oil sand and water at ambient temperature; an adsorption step involving addition of agent to the sand/water mix; a phase separation step; a desorption step; and a tailings treatment step. It was concluded that the laboratory test work performed on Canadian oil sands is conclusive in demonstrating the capacity of the OSEAD process to efficiently adsorb heavy and viscous hydrocarbon at ambient temperature and with limited amount of water addition. 11 figs., 1 appendix.

  16. Root growth, mycorrhization and physiological effects of plants growing on oil tailing sands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boldt-Burisch, Katja M.; Naeth, Anne M.; Schneider, Bernd Uwe; Hüttl, Reinhard F.

    2015-04-01

    Surface mining creates large, intense disturbances of soils and produces large volumes of by-products and waste materials. After mining processes these materials often provide the basis for land reclamation and ecosystem restoration. In the present study, tailing sands (TS) and processed mature fine tailings (pMFT) from Fort McMurray (Alberta, Canada) were used. They represent challenging material for ecosystem rebuilding because of very low nutrient contents of TS and oil residuals, high density of MFT material. In this context, little is known about the interactions of pure TS, respectively mixtures of TS and MFT and root growth, mycorrhization and plant physiological effects. Four herbaceous plant species (Elymus trachycaulus, Koeleria macrantha, Deschampsia cespitosa, Lotus corniculatus) were chosen to investigate root development, chlorophyll fluorescence and mycorrhization intensity with and without application of Glomus mosseae (arbuscular mycorrhizae) on mainly tailing sands. Surprisingly both, plants growing on pure TS and plants growing on TS with additional AM-application showed mycorrhization of roots. In general, the mycorrhization intensity was lower for plants growing on pure tailings sands, but it is an interesting fact that there is a potential for mycorrhization available in tailing sands. The mycorrhizal intensity strongly increased with application of G. mosseae for K. macrantha and L. corniculatus and even more for E. trachycaulus. For D. cespitosa similar high mycorrhiza infection frequency was found for both variants, with and without AM-application. By the application of G. mosseae, root growth of E. trachycaulus and K. macrantha was significantly positively influenced. Analysis of leaf chlorophyll fluorescence showed no significant differences for E. trachycaulus but significant positive influence of mycorrhizal application on the physiological status of L. corniculatus. However, this effect could not be detected when TS was mixed with MFT

  17. Nuclear energy for oil sands production: Providing security of energy and hydrogen supply at economic cost

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Full text: Canada has abundant oil rich deposits in Alberta that supply a large fraction of domestic and export oil supply to today's energy markets. The extraction, processing and upgrading all require energy and hydrogen, which today are almost exclusively provided by burning natural gas. However, the vast potential supplies of oil could remain largely unexploitable, limited by the accessible gas supplies. Alternate energy sources will ultimately be needed for oil sands processing. In addition, emissions of greenhouse gases, although much reduced on a per barrel basis, are increasing overall. Thus, it is desirable to provide a low cost, low carbon source of energy: nuclear energy can provide that needed source. Recent key advances in oil sands extraction technology (e.g., pre-heating of deposits using steam assisted gravity drainage, SAGD) have reduced costs per barrel of final oil product. Several studies have been carried out, jointly and separately with producers, to examine the potential benefits of CANDU energy to new extraction and processing projects. The study was prompted by a recognition that the evolution of the hydrocarbon market may open up a competitive advantage for CANDU and associated technologies, as energy supplies for SAGD based oil sands projects. The scope of the studies examines use of the latest design of Advanced CANDU Reactors (ACR) to supply steam to the oil sands, and also to produce co-generated electricity. In addition, we analyse the use of electricity to co-produce electrolytic hydrogen for use in bitumen upgrading; and the value of the synergistic by-products of electrolysis, oxygen and heavy water. The review examines technical feasibility, economics, and implementation schedule. Because of the scale of application, and the required adaptation of technology, the CANDU reactor was the main focus of the feasibility and schedule aspects. The economics review compares the CANDU-based alternative to a reference option of using natural

  18. Marketing opportunities and challenges for Canada's oil sands industry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This report demonstrated that effective marketing of Canadian oil sands products has been vital to the success of the industry in the past. Future success was expected to depend on having efficient transportation systems for the industry's products, unrestricted access to markets, and a range of products can competitively meet the needs of specific markets and customs. 9 ills

  19. Clean and Secure Energy from Domestic Oil Shale and Oil Sands Resources

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Spinti, Jennifer [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Birgenheier, Lauren [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Deo, Milind [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Facelli, Julio [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Hradisky, Michal [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Kelly, Kerry [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Miller, Jan [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); McLennan, John [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Ring, Terry [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Ruple, John [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Uchitel, Kirsten [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States)

    2015-09-30

    This report summarizes the significant findings from the Clean and Secure Energy from Domestic Oil Shale and Oil Sands Resources program sponsored by the Department of Energy through the National Energy Technology Laboratory. There were four principle areas of research; Environmental, legal, and policy issues related to development of oil shale and oil sands resources; Economic and environmental assessment of domestic unconventional fuels industry; Basin-scale assessment of conventional and unconventional fuel development impacts; and Liquid fuel production by in situ thermal processing of oil shale Multiple research projects were conducted in each area and the results have been communicated via sponsored conferences, conference presentations, invited talks, interviews with the media, numerous topical reports, journal publications, and a book that summarizes much of the oil shale research relating to Utah’s Uinta Basin. In addition, a repository of materials related to oil shale and oil sands has been created within the University of Utah’s Institutional Repository, including the materials generated during this research program. Below is a listing of all topical and progress reports generated by this project and submitted to the Office of Science and Technical Information (OSTI). A listing of all peer-reviewed publications generated as a result of this project is included at the end of this report; Geomechanical and Fluid Transport Properties 1 (December, 2015); Validation Results for Core-Scale Oil Shale Pyrolysis (February, 2015); and Rates and Mechanisms of Oil Shale Pyrolysis: A Chemical Structure Approach (November, 2014); Policy Issues Associated With Using Simulation to Assess Environmental Impacts (November, 2014); Policy Analysis of the Canadian Oil Sands Experience (September, 2013); V-UQ of Generation 1 Simulator with AMSO Experimental Data (August, 2013); Lands with Wilderness Characteristics, Resource Management Plan Constraints, and Land Exchanges

  20. Proceedings of the Canadian Institute's 4. annual oil sands supply and infrastructure conference : maximizing opportunity and mitigating risks in a rapidly growing market

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This conference addressed the challenges facing oil sands development, with particular reference to supply and infrastructure issues. Updates on oil sands markets and opportunities were presented along with strategies for mitigating risks in a rapidly growing market. The best practices for supplying a demanding market through supply shortages and high prices were identified along with policies that should be implemented to help overcome labour shortages. Some presentations expressed how commodities pricing and trends can impact business. Others showed how markets in China and the United States are prepared for oilsands products. The views of other international companies on oil sands was also discussed along with proposed plans to eliminate the infrastructure congestion and risks caused by expanding oil sands development. The challenges and benefits of investing in Alberta's oil sands were reviewed along with strategies to enhance upgrading and refining capacity in the province. Economic drivers and the creation of new markets were examined, and various export opportunities were reviewed along with industry management challenges concerning human resources, labour supply, training and education. The conference featured 10 presentations, of which 3 have been catalogued separately for inclusion in this database. refs., tabs., figs

  1. Long term in-situ behaviour of oil sands fine tailings in Suncor's pond 1A

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sean Wells, Patrick [Suncor Energy, Inc (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    Suncor Energy Inc. oil sands operations have been ongoing north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, since 1966. A fluid fine tailings (FFT) storage and flow-through recycle water pond, Pond 1A, became operational in the 1970's. This paper presents the long-term in-situ behavior of oil sands fine tailings in Suncor's Pond 1A. In 1977, the first FFT sampling program was conducted and was followed by periodic programs through to 2010. For over 25 years, volumes of FFT in the form of mature fine tailings (MFT) at significant depths, and in relatively undisturbed conditions, have been stored at this pond. The unique site of the pond has allowed the long-term behavior of FFT in oil sands landscapes to be better understood; study has led to potential storage and material strength gain projections. It can be concluded that further work is needed and this site will be useful in the on-going efforts to improve tailings operations in the industry.

  2. Beyond eco-terrorism : the deeper issues affecting Alberta's oil patch

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Issues which have led to acts of sabotage in the Peace River country in northwestern Alberta are discussed. These acts are alleged to have been inspired by frustration and anger by rural Albertans over oil and gas pollution. Rural residents believe that activities such as well drilling, laying of pipelines, and the flaring of solution gas generate air emissions and other wastes which reduce the quality of air, water and soils, and harm the health of their livestock and crops, and have a direct impact on human health. This paper identifies the broad range of environmental and health issues that are currently known to be associated with the oil and gas industry. The findings of several independent scientific studies that corroborate the experiential evidence submitted by rural residents are discussed and some of the key socio-economic and political factors that are increasing the risk of environmental and health impacts are described. Recommendations for action by government and industry to respond to these issues are also presented. 1 tab., 3 figs

  3. Fluidization Behavior of Oil-Contaminated Sand.

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Hartman, Miloslav; Trnka, Otakar; Pohořelý, Michael

    2007-01-01

    Roč. 61, 2 (2007) , s. 93-97. ISSN 0366-6352 R&D Projects: GA AV ČR(CZ) IAA4072201 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z40720504 Keywords : fluidized bed * hydrodynamics * oil pollution Subject RIV: CI - Industrial Chemistry, Chemical Engineering Impact factor: 0.367, year: 2007

  4. Integration of nuclear energy into oil sands projects - HTR2008-58239

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Energy security and greenhouse gas reductions are thought to be two of the most urgent priorities for sustaining and improving the human condition in the future. Few places pit the two goals so directly in opposition to one another as the Alberta oil sands. Here, Canadian natural gas is burned in massive quantities to extract oil from one of North America's largest native sources of carbon-intensive heavy oil. This conflict need not continue, however; non-emitting nuclear energy can replace natural gas as a fuel source in an economical and more environmentally sound way. This would allow for the continued extraction of transportation fuels without greenhouse gas emissions, while freeing up the natural gas supply for hydrogen feedstock and other valuable applications. Bitumen production in Alberta has expanded dramatically in the past five years as the price of oil has risen to record levels. This paper explores the feasibility and economics of using nuclear energy to power future oil sands production and upgrading activities, and puts forth several nuclear energy application scenarios for providing steam and electricity to in-situ and surface mining operations. This review includes the Enhanced CANDU 6, the Advanced CANDU Reactor (ACR) and the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR). Based on reasonable projections of available cost information, nuclear energy used for steam production is expected to be less expensive than steam produced by natural gas at current natural gas prices and under $7/MMBtu (CAD). For electricity production, nuclear becomes competitive with natural gas plants at natural gas prices of $10-13/MMBtu (CAD). Costs of constructing nuclear plants in Alberta are affected by higher local labor costs, which this paper took into account in making these estimates. Although more definitive analysis of construction costs and project economics will be required to confirm these findings, there appears to be sufficient merit in the potential economics to

  5. Oil sand process-affected water treatment using coke adsorption

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gamal El-Din, M.; Pourrezaei, P.; Chelme-Ayala, P.; Zubot, W. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    2010-07-01

    Oil sands operations generate an array of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) that will eventually be released to the environment. This water must be evaluated within conventional and advanced water treatment technologies. Water management strategies propose options for increased reuse and recycling of water from settling ponds, as well as safe discharge. This presentation outlined the typical composition of OSPW. Constituents of concern in OSPW include suspended solids, hydrocarbons, salts, ammonia, trace metals, and dissolved organics such as naphthenic acids (NAs). Petroleum coke is one of the by-products generated from bitumen extraction in the oil sands industry and can be used as one of the possible treatment processes for the removal of organic compounds found in OSPW. Activated carbon adsorption is an effective process, able to adsorb organic substances such as oils, radioactive compounds, petroleum hydrocarbons, poly aromatic hydrocarbons and various halogenated compounds. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the production of activated carbon from petroleum coke using steam as the activation media; to determine the factors affecting the absorption of NAs; and to evaluate the activated coke adsorption capacity for the reduction of NAs and dissolved organic carbons present in OSPW. It was concluded that petroleum non-activated coke has the ability to decrease COD, alkalinity, and NA concentration. tabs., figs.

  6. US phosphate fertilizer outlook and its impact on Canadian oil sands sulfur

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Chasez, K. [Potash Co. of Saskatchewan, New Brunswick Div., Saint John, NB (Canada)

    2009-07-01

    As of 2009, the world population was more than 6.8 billion people and growing by approximately 75 million people annually. At the same time, arable land per person is decreasing, meaning that crop productivity must increase in order to meet the rising food demand. Increased fertilizer use, particularly in areas that under apply, is necessary to meet the growing populations' caloric needs. As a result, the demand for sulphur, a key ingredient for phosphate fertilizer production from the fertilizer industry is expected to increase over the next 5 years. This paper provided an overview of the United States phosphate fertilizer industry and its outlook through 2014. It discussed the impact of the United States phosphate industry on demand for sulphur processed in Canadian refineries and exported to the United States. Other issues that were discussed included world phosphoric acid uses; the rise and fall of global sulphur prices in 2009; world DAP and MAP shipments; world phosphate production curtailments; global phosphoric acid consumption growth; global sulphur production versus consumption; United States sulphur production versus consumption; United States recovered sulphur production; United States sulphur consumption; and major United States sulphur expansions. Sulphur transportation costs were also discussed. It was concluded that refinery capacity in the United States is expected to increase in the next 5 years, which means that oil produced in the Alberta oil sands would be shipped to the United States and refined there. Therefore, United States sulphur production would increase at the expense of sulphur imports from Canada.

  7. Air quality monitoring in the Canadian oil sands. Tests of new technology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Platt, Ulrich; Seitz, Katja; Buxmann, Joelle [Heidelberg Univ. (Germany). Inst. of Environmental Physics; Thimm, Harald F. [Thimm Petroleum Technologies Inc., Calgary (Canada)

    2012-12-15

    Modern bitumen recovery processes, such as Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), minimize the environmental footprint of oil recovery in terms of land disturbance and water demands. However, as a corollary, air monitoring becomes more difficult. In particular air quality monitoring for sulphur and nitrogen oxides, as currently practiced, suffers from significant limitations in remote regions, such as the Canadian Oil Sands Areas. Current techniques require the placement of monitoring trailers in accessible locations, but the electrical power or even access for optimal location for trailers is not always given. In addition, the trailers are capable of monitoring air quality only at the location of their deployment. There would be an advantage in deploying monitoring techniques that require minimal power (e.g. car battery, solar cell) and are capable of measuring air quality at a distance from the place of deployment. In the autumn of 2008, a trial of DOAS (Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy) was undertaken in Northern Alberta and Northern Saskatchewan, at four SAGD plants in various stages of development. Results of this study, and a discussion of the technology, will be given. Advantages and limitations of DOAS for deployment in Athabasca will be discussed. In general it was found that SO{sub 2} results showed remarkably low degrees of contamination, while NO{sub 2} concentrations were more noticeable. (orig.)

  8. US phosphate fertilizer outlook and its impact on Canadian oil sands sulfur

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    As of 2009, the world population was more than 6.8 billion people and growing by approximately 75 million people annually. At the same time, arable land per person is decreasing, meaning that crop productivity must increase in order to meet the rising food demand. Increased fertilizer use, particularly in areas that under apply, is necessary to meet the growing populations' caloric needs. As a result, the demand for sulphur, a key ingredient for phosphate fertilizer production from the fertilizer industry is expected to increase over the next 5 years. This paper provided an overview of the United States phosphate fertilizer industry and its outlook through 2014. It discussed the impact of the United States phosphate industry on demand for sulphur processed in Canadian refineries and exported to the United States. Other issues that were discussed included world phosphoric acid uses; the rise and fall of global sulphur prices in 2009; world DAP and MAP shipments; world phosphate production curtailments; global phosphoric acid consumption growth; global sulphur production versus consumption; United States sulphur production versus consumption; United States recovered sulphur production; United States sulphur consumption; and major United States sulphur expansions. Sulphur transportation costs were also discussed. It was concluded that refinery capacity in the United States is expected to increase in the next 5 years, which means that oil produced in the Alberta oil sands would be shipped to the United States and refined there. Therefore, United States sulphur production would increase at the expense of sulphur imports from Canada

  9. Alberta industrial synergy CO2 programs initiative

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The various industrial sectors within Alberta produce about 350,000 tonnes of CO2 per day. This presentation was concerned with how this large volume and high concentration of CO2 can be used in industrial and agricultural applications, because every tonne of CO2 used for such purposes is a tonne that does not end up in the atmosphere. There is a good potential for an industrial synergy between the producers and users of CO2. The Alberta Industrial Synergy CO2 Programs Initiative was established to ultimately achieve a balance between the producers of CO2 and the users of CO2 by creating ways to use the massive quantities of CO2 produced by Alberta's hydrocarbon-based economy. The Alberta CO2 Research Steering Committee was created to initiate and support CO2 programs such as: (1) CO2 use in enhanced oil recovery, (2) creation of a CO2 production inventory, (3) survey of CO2 users and potential users, (4) investigation of process issues such as power generation, oil sands and cement manufacturing, and (5) biofixation by plants, (6) other disposal options (e.g. in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, in aquifers, in tailings ponds, in coal beds). The single most important challenge was identified as 'rationalizing the formation of the necessary infrastructure'. Failing to do that will greatly impede efforts directed towards CO2 utilization

  10. Bringing Context to the Oil Sands Debate: understanding the role of nature versus man

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fennell, J.; Gibson, J. J.; Birks, S. J.; YI, Y.; Jasechko, S.; Moncur, M. C.

    2013-12-01

    The Canadian oil sands represent an important resource to the national economy, and a strategic supply-line to the United States of America. These hydrocarbon deposits reside beneath a vast area in northern Alberta, and have been exposed to the environment for millennia as a result of erosion by the Athabasca River and its tributaries. Further complexity to the geochemical setting occurs due to the existence of faulted pathways extending from deeper, highly saline, Devonian intervals to surface. Situated within this natural setting are large waste management structures used to contain mine tailings and oil sands produced water. Many of these structures are situated in close proximity to aquatic receptors and have the potential to affect local water quality due to seepage losses. As such, these structures are coming under increasing scrutiny as a potential source of environmental impact. Discharge of oil sands contaminants to the rivers, and the accumulation of these materials in the Peace-Athabasca Delta, has been cited as a factor leading to adverse health effects at downstream communities. However, the role that natural discharge of contaminants plays has never been fully acknowledged. To address this critical gap, a reconnaissance of the Athabasca River was conducted. Areas of elevated terrain conductivity (detected by EM31 survey) were identified both in background locations and areas suspected of industrial releases. Water samples were collected from various sites and from multiple depth intervals (up to 3 m) within the hyporheic zone of the river sediments. This was achieved using drive-point wells. Each sample was then analyzed for a comprehensive suite of parameters including: i) major ions; ii) dissolved trace elements; iii) dissolved organics; and iv) selected stable and radiogenic isotopes. Results of the investigation identified large areas (in excess of 10km) of groundwater discharge to the Athabasca River well outside the influence of oil sands

  11. Case study: Project Millennium oil sands expansion

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Suncor Energy's Millennium Project was confronted with many challenges of a regulatory nature while engaged in the approvals process. An outline is included of the key activities and strategies the company utilized to successfully meet the challenges while maintaining the desired project timeline. The project is expected to increase the production capacity of upgraded crude oil to the 220,000 barrel per day level to 2002 through the expansion of the Steepbank Mine and additional plant capacity. The scope of the project includes all activities necessary to plan, construct and operate a major facility expansion. These activities comprise: an expansion at the Steepbank Mine, Millennium Extraction plant, a second primary separation plant located in the east side of the Athabasca River to produce raw bitumen, raw bitumen pipeline to the existing Base Extraction Plant, modifications to the Base Extraction Plant to clean the raw bitumen and produce a diluted bitumen product. Also included in the expansion is a second upgrader train to produce a slate of upgraded crude oil products, addition of 360 megawatt co-generation plant supplying the required steam and power, and other related infrastructure to facilitate the increased production level (tankage, water treatment, support facilities). Suncor has worked diligently through the regulatory and environmental review process, and through innovation and hard work, plus a pro-active approach to consultation, Suncor was able to maintain its desired schedule, improve its project design and achieve full stakeholder support

  12. Surface and groundwater management in the oil sands industry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A study was conducted to examine the sublethal effects of oil sands constituents on gill and liver histopathology and fish reproduction. Field studies of food web dynamics were conducted using stable isotopes, including oil sands constituents degradation isotope studies. The objective was to determine changes in food web dynamics associated with reclamation methods and maturity using stable isotopes. The study related changes in toxicity to changes in ground and surface naphthenic acids concentration and composition. It also demonstrated the natural attenuation of toxic chemicals as they travel through groundwater to potential surface water receptors. A methodology was developed to assess the natural attenuation capacity for future situations involving process-affected groundwater of different chemistry with different critical potential contaminants such as sulphides, metals, and specific organics. The mobility and natural attenuation of process water chemicals migrating in groundwater was also assessed. tabs., figs

  13. The energy efficiency of oil sands extraction: Energy return ratios from 1970 to 2010

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    It has been argued that the oil sands industry is not energy efficient: comparatively large energy inputs are required per unit of energy output from oil sands operations. Unfortunately, quantitative work to date in this area has suffered from poor data availability and uncertain methods. We apply a new methodology and new dataset to compute ERRs (energy return ratios) for the oil sands industry. We collected monthly oil sands energy consumption and output data from 1970 to 2010. Current oil sands operations have mine mouth NERs (net energy returns) of about 6 GJ output per GJ of energy consumed and point of use energy returns of about 3 GJ/GJ. Long-term trends show oil sands operations becoming significantly more efficient: point of use NER increased from about 1 GJ/GJ in 1970 to 3 GJ/GJ in 2010. These energy returns are lower than those observed in historical conventional oil operations, but low energy returns are not likely to hinder development of oil sands operations due to the large resource in place and the ability for largely self-fueled pathways to return significant amounts of energy to society for every unit of external energy supplied. - Highlights: • Oil sands operations have become significantly more energy efficient over the history of the industry. • Oil sands production is largely fueled with energy from the bitumen resource itself, making external energy returns high. • Oil sands production is still significantly less efficient than conventional oil production

  14. Microbial turnover and incorporation of organic compounds in oil sand mining reclamation sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lappé, M.; Kallmeyer, J.

    2013-12-01

    Microorganisms play an important role in the development of new soils and in the reclamation of disturbed landscapes. Especially in hydrocarbon-contaminated soils their ability to degrade organic matter and pollutants makes them essential to re-establish full ecosystem functionality. Microbes are also involved in the mobilization of nutrients for plant growth and in the production of greenhouse gases. Reclamation sites from oil sand mining activities in Alberta, Canada, contain residual bitumen as well as other hydrocarbons. So, these areas provide a great opportunity to study microbial degradation of residual contaminants from oil sand. To get an impression of degradation rates as well as metabolic pathways, incubation experiments were performed in the lab. We measured microbial turnover (catabolic metabolism) and incorporation (anabolic metabolism) rates of different common organic compounds in samples from differently treated reclamation sites - with plant cover and without plant cover. About 10 g of sample material was suspended in 10 mL of a solution that mimics the in-situ concentration of dissolved ions. Radioactively labelled 14C-acetate was added as a common substrate, whereas 14C-naphthenic acid was chosen to investigate the microbial community's capability to utilize a typical hydrocarbon pollutant in oil sand tailings as a nutrient source. To test for the influence of fertilizers on microbial activity, phosphate, nitrate and potassium were added to some samples in different combinations. Incubations were run over two different time periods (7 and 14 days). At the end of each incubation experiment, the amount of produced 14CO2, 14C incorporated into the cells and the remaining unreacted 14C in the slurry were measured. First results show that most of the added 14C-acetate is used for respiration as it is mostly released as 14CO2. In upper soil layers only about 3% of 14C is incorporated into cells, whereas in deeper horizons with lower cell abundances

  15. The Canadian oil sands industry under carbon constraints

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    We investigate the impact of climate policies on Canada’s oil sands industry, the largest of its kind in the world. Deriving petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel from oils sands involves significant amounts of energy, and that contributes to a high level of CO2 emissions. We apply the MIT Emissions Prediction and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model, a computable general equilibrium model of the world economy, augmented to include detail on the oil sands production processes, including the possibility of carbon capture and storage (CCS). We find: (1) without climate policy, annual Canadian bitumen production increases almost 4-fold from 2010 to 2050; (2) with climate policies implemented in developed countries, Canadian bitumen production drops by 32% to 68% from the reference 4-fold increase, depending on the viability of large-scale CCS implementation, and bitumen upgrading capacity moves to the developing countries; (3) with climate policies implemented worldwide, the Canadian bitumen production is significantly reduced even with CCS technology, which lowers CO2 emissions at an added cost. This is mainly because upgrading bitumen abroad is no longer economic with the global climate policies. - Highlights: ► We investigate the impact of climate policies on Canada’s oil sands industry. ► A computable general equilibrium model of the world economy is applied for the assessment. ► Without climate policy, Canadian bitumen production increases almost 4 fold from 2010 to 2050. ► With regional policy, bitumen output may drop by up to 68% and upgrading moves to no-policy countries. ► With global policy, bitumen production is significantly reduced since upgrading abroad is no longer viable.

  16. Characterization of oil sands process-affected waters by liquid chromatography orbitrap mass spectrometry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pereira, Alberto S; Bhattacharjee, Subir; Martin, Jonathan W

    2013-05-21

    Recovery of bitumen from oil sands in northern Alberta, Canada, occurs by surface mining or in situ thermal recovery, and both methods produce toxic oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). A new characterization strategy for surface mining OSPW (sm-OSPW) and in situ OSPW (is-OSPW) was achieved by combining liquid chromatography with orbitrap mass spectrometry (MS). In electrospray positive and negative ionization modes (ESI(+)/ESI(-)), mass spectral data were acquired with high resolving power (RP > 100,000-190,000) and mass accuracy (<2 ppm). The additional chromatographic resolution allowed for separation of various isomers and interference-free MS(n) experiments. Overall, ∼3000 elemental compositions were revealed in each OSPW sample, corresponding to a range of heteroatom-containing homologue classes: Ox (where x = 1-6), NOx (where x = 1-4), SOx (where x = 1-4), NO₂S, N, and S. Despite similarities between the OSPW samples at the level of heteroatom class, the two samples were very different when considering isomer patterns and double-bond equivalent profiles. The chromatographic separations also allowed for confirmation that, in both OSPW samples, the O₂ species detected in ESI(-) (i.e., naphthenic acids) were chemically distinct from the corresponding O₂ species detected in ESI(+). In comparison to model compounds, tandem MS spectra of these new O₂ species suggested a group of non-acidic compounds with dihydroxy, diketo, or ketohydroxy functionality. In light of the known endocrine-disrupting potential of sm-OSPW, the toxicity of these O₂ species deserves attention and the method should be further applied to environmental forensic analysis of water in the region. PMID:23607765

  17. A science and technology strategy for Canada's oil sands industry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This report showed that science and technology are the basis for all current oil sands operations. Study proved that technological breakthroughs were essential for future grassroots investment. Assuming that the price of oil would remain in the range of 15 to 20 dollars a barrel, new technologies would be the key lever to economically sound commercial development. Technologies should reduce capital, operating as well as transportation costs. It was urged that, in the development of new technologies, emphasis should be put on technologies that eliminate or bypass entire sections of the current cost structure

  18. Oil sands mine planning and waste management using goal programming

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A goal programming method was used to plan waste management processes at an oil sands mine. This method requires the decision maker (DM) to set goals. Mine planning is used to determine a block extraction schedule that maximizes net present value (NPV). Due to land restrictions, tailings facilities are sited within the pit area and dykes are used to contain the tailings. Many of the materials used to construct the dykes come from the mining operation. The mine plan scheduled both ore and dyke material concurrently. Dykes were constructed simultaneously as the mine phase advanced. A model was used to classify an oil sands block model into different material types. A mixed integer goal programming (MIGP) method was used to generate a strategic schedule. Block clustering techniques were used to large-scale mine planning projects. The method was used to verify and validate synthetic and real case data related to the cost of mining all material as waste, and the extra cost of mining dyke material. A case study of an oil sands project was used to demonstrate the method. The study showed that the developed model generates a smooth and uniform strategic schedule for large-scale mine planning projects. tabs., figs.

  19. Proceedings of the 2010 oil sands and heavy oil technologies conference and exhibition

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Heavy oil and oil sands resources are being considered as a principal energy source for the future as a result of depleting conventional resources. This oil sands and heavy oil technologies conference provided a forum for industry members and other stakeholders to discuss new technologies and developments in heavy oil and oil sands operations. Attendants from over 20 different countries presented details of recent innovations and addressed some of the current challenges facing the industry. Geophysical and seismic survey equipment and methodologies were presented, and new separation processes for oil sands and heavy oil were reviewed. Issues related to combustion, air pollution abatement, and the storage and sale of sulphur by-products were discussed. Management and modelling techniques were also presented. The conference was divided into 6 sessions with separate tracks that included presentations related to project management and economics; in situ methods; geophysical techniques; sulphur; regulatory and handling issues; global projects; and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects. The conference featured 63 presentations, of which 50 have been catalogued separately for inclusion in this database

  20. Proceedings of the oil sands and heavy oil technologies conference and exhibition

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This conference provided a forum for oil sands industry leaders to review the current and future state of technology in this frontier environment. Presentations were delivered by key personnel involved in groundbreaking projects with a renewed focus on oil sands technology and equipment, viewed from the strategic level with case studies and reports on application technologies designed to optimize oil sands operations. The presentations addressed a wide range of issues related to the environmental impacts of oil sands processing facilities, including innovative water and wastewater solutions for heavy oil producers for bitumen mining, in-situ and upgrading facilities. New advances in sulphur treatment technologies were highlighted along with technologies designed to increase the energy efficiency and energy consumption rates of upgrader and processing facilities. Advances in carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage systems were also discussed along with geopolitical and economic evaluations of the future of the oil sands industry. The conference featured 59 presentations, of which 48 have been catalogued separately for inclusion in this database. refs., tabs., figs

  1. Allowing sand into high-rate oil wells: how heavy oil experience is helping elsewhere

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dusseault, M. [Waterloo Univ., Porous Media Research Institute, Waterloo, ON (Canada)

    1998-10-01

    {sup S}and management` principles were reviewed in an effort to show how rather than operating liquid-dominated wells at a reduced sand-free rate, operating the wells at a rate that is above the maximum sand-free rate, yet below the rate that would lead to massive sand influx, has led to average light oil production increases of greater than 40 per cent in deep, poorly consolidated, sanding-prone reservoirs in the North Sea. The mechanism of `self clean-up` of wells was described wherein wells under `sand management` generate periodic bursts of sand which decay to normal background rates in a matter of minutes to hours, resulting in well skin changes from typical values of +5 to +10 per cent to values of -4 to -5. The end result is elimination of various impediments between the production face and the wellhead which reduces completion costs, eliminates workovers and treatment of blockages and allows the reservoir to produce unimpeded at increased oil rates. However, the procedure which grew out of heavy oil experience in Canada, is not without some risks. A number of design concepts and protocols covering geomechanics analysis, perforating strategy, monitoring and well-operating procedures have been developed and implemented to manage the risk. General principles underlying these procedures are briefly described.

  2. S reactivity of an oil sands composite tailings deposit undergoing reclamation wetland construction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reid, Michelle L; Warren, Lesley A

    2016-01-15

    This study is the first to characterize the S stability of a composite tailings (CT) deposit undergoing pilot wetland reclamation in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR, Alberta, Canada). As CT is sulfur, organic carbon and bacterially rich, the goal of this study was to characterize the in situ aqueous distribution of sulfur compounds across the wetland, sand cap and underlying CT zones of the deposit, in an effort to establish the potential for microbial sulfur cycling and generation of H2S, an explosive, corrosive and toxicity risk. Porewater samples from three depths spanning the different layers of the deposit, as well as wetland surface ponded water samples were collected for geochemical analyses (July and Sept 2013), and for microbial enrichments (both S reducing and S oxidizing bacteria) in June 2014. While porewater ΣH2S(aq) was detected at all depths across the three zones of the deposit, results identify that the sand cap layer required for construction, acts as a mixing zone generating the highest solution H2S concentrations (>500 uM or 18 mg/L) and H2S gas levels (over 100 and up to 180 ppm) observed. Porewater dissolved sulfate concentrations (0.14-6.97 mM) were orders of magnitude higher and did not correlate to the observed distribution of ΣH2S concentrations throughout the deposit. Unique to the sandcap, dissolved organic carbon positively correlated with the observed maxima of ΣH2S(aq) seen in this layer. The water management of the deposit is a critical factor in the observed S trends. Active dewatering of the CT resulted in migration of S rich water up into the sandcap, while downwelling labile organic carbon from the developing wetland acted in concert to stimulate microbial generation of the H2S in this structural layer to the highest levels observed. Functional enrichments identified that diverse S reducing and oxidizing microbial metabolisms are widespread throughout the deposit, indicating that these waste materials are

  3. Hot water generation for oil sands processing from enhanced geothermal systems: Process simulation for different hydraulic fracturing scenarios

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Highlights: • Low enthalpy Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) can provide hot water for oil sands processing. • A 5 km deep EGS can generate hot water at temperatures above 60 °C over a period of 30 years. • The cost is competitive as compared to the burning of natural gas. • The cost effective way to create an EGS in granitic basement rocks was the stimulation of complex natural fracture systems. • The savings in greenhouse gas emissions as compared to the burning of natural gas are enormous. - Abstract: The oil sands in northern Alberta, Canada are home to one of the largest hydrocarbon deposits on earth. Huge amounts of hot water—around 50–60 °C—are needed for the current extraction procedure and processing technology. The current practice of obtaining water from the Athabasca River and heating it by the burning of natural gas creates severe economic and environmental costs. In fact, 6% of Canada’s gas consumption is used for this purpose. As seen, the generation of huge amounts of fossil energy through oil sands extraction requires a substantial amount of fossil energy consumption (natural gas). Geothermal energy has the potential to significantly reduce natural gas consumption and greenhouse gas emissions at competitive costs. In this paper, we investigate how and whether or not the required hot water can be generated from the granitic basement rocks beneath the oil sands mining areas near Fort (Ft.) McMurray, located in the north east of Alberta. Hydraulic fracturing and resulting reservoir scenarios were simulated for different expected conditions in the region in order to find suitable fracturing strategies and conditions for an Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS). The simulations show that suitable fracturing treatments can increase the hydraulic performance of the system and that EGS heat generation can significantly reduce the environmental impact at comparable costs associated with the current processing technology. With this effort

  4. Should upgrading and refining be enhanced in Alberta?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Although world oil prices are rising, the price of bitumen remains stable. It was noted that surplus refinery capacity is disappearing and that skilled labour, infrastructure, transportation systems, environmental management and technology development are among some of the challenges facing heavy hydrocarbon development. Pie charts indicating global reserves of crude oil and heavy crude oil showed that although the Middle East leads in world proven oil reserves, nearly half of the heavy crude oil and natural bitumen deposits are in Canada. As a global energy leader, Alberta is using its' world class expertise to develop the vast energy resources of the province and to market these resources and abilities to the world. This presentation summarized processing activities in Alberta and outlined the markets for petrochemicals. A graph representing North American petroleum supply and demand from 2001 to 2019 was also presented along with a review of Alberta's upgrading and refining capacity and infrastructure opportunities for crude oil, natural gas, petrochemicals and electricity. Alberta's crude oil markets by 2020 are likely to be the Far East, California, Heredity's, Wyoming, Chicago, Cushing, United States Gulf Coast, and the East Coast. The benefits of upgrading in Alberta include inexpensive feedstock, existing upgrader and petrochemical sites and low transportation costs. In addition, more refining capacity in the province would provide market diversification for bitumen products; higher investment and value-added in Alberta; opportunity to provide feedstock to petrochemicals; production of synthetic diluent in the province; and, smaller environmental footprint and greater energy efficiency. The cumulative impact of oil sands development on government revenues was discussed along with the challenge of addressing the issue of a skilled labour shortage, infrastructure needs, and developing a business case for a carbon dioxide pipeline. tabs., figs

  5. A numerical/empirical technique for history matching and predicting cyclic steam performance in Canadian oil sands reservoirs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leshchyshyn, Theodore Henry

    The oil sands of Alberta contain some one trillion barrels of bitumen-in-place, most contained in the McMurray, Wabiskaw, Clearwater, and Grand Rapids formations. Depth of burial is 0--550 m, 10% of which is surface mineable, the rest recoverable by in-situ technology-driven enhanced oil recovery schemes. To date, significant commercial recovery has been attributed to Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS) using vertical wellbores. Other techniques, such as Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) are proving superior to other recovery methods for increasing early oil production but at initial higher development and/or operating costs. Successful optimization of bitumen production rates from the entire reservoir is ultimately decided by the operator's understanding of the reservoir in its original state and/or the positive and negative changes which occur in oil sands and heavy oil deposits upon heat stimulation. Reservoir description is the single most important factor in attaining satisfactory history matches and forecasts for optimized production of the commercially-operated processes. Reservoir characterization which lacks understanding can destroy a project. For example, incorrect assumptions in the geological model for the Wolf Lake Project in northeast Alberta resulted in only about one-half of the predicted recovery by the original field process. It will be shown here why the presence of thin calcite streaks within oil sands can determine the success or failure of a commercial cyclic steam project. A vast amount of field data, mostly from the Primrose Heavy Oil Project (PHOP) near Cold Lake, Alberta, enabled the development a simple set of correlation curves for predicting bitumen production using CSS. A previously calibtrated thermal numerical simulation model was used in its simplist form, that is, a single layer, radial grid blocks, "fingering" or " dilation" adjusted permeability curves, and no simulated fracture, to generate the first cycle production

  6. Toxic effects of oil sand naphthenic acids on the biomass accumulation of 21 potential phytoplankton remediation candidates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodworth, Adam P J; Frank, Richard A; McConkey, Brendan J; Müller, Kirsten M

    2012-12-01

    The oil sands of northern Alberta, Canada contain an estimated 170 billion barrels of crude oil. Extraction processes produce large amounts of liquid tailings known as oil sand process affected water (OSPW) that are toxic to aquatic organisms. Naphthenic acids (NAs), and their sodium salts, represent a significant contributor to the toxicity of these waters. Due to the recalcitrant nature of these compounds, an effective mode of remediation has yet to be established. This study investigates the suitability of the use of phytoplankton for remediation efforts based on two criteria: the ability of phytoplankton strains to withstand the toxic effects of NAs, and their rate of biomass accumulation. A total of 21 phytoplankton strains were isolated from waters containing NAs, cultured, and maintained under unialgal conditions. These strains were then exposed to NAs in concentrations ranging from 0mg L(-1) to 1000mg L(-1) over a 14 day period. Inhibition of growth was observed at 30mg L(-1) NA (one strain), 100mg L(-1) NA (one strain), 300mg L(-1) NA (six strains), and 1000mg L(-1) NA (six strains). Five strains failed to show any growth inhibition at any test concentration and two strains could not be analysed due to poor growth during the test period. Strains were then ranked based on their suitability for use in remediation efforts. PMID:23031586

  7. Total and methyl mercury concentrations in sediment and water of a constructed wetland in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oswald, Claire J; Carey, Sean K

    2016-06-01

    In the Athabasca Oil Sands Region in northeastern Alberta, Canada, oil sands operators are testing the feasibility of peatland construction on the post-mining landscape. In 2009, Syncrude Canada Ltd. began construction of the 52 ha Sandhill Fen pilot watershed, including a 15 ha, hydrologically managed fen peatland built on sand-capped soft oil sands tailings. An integral component of fen reclamation is post-construction monitoring of water quality, including salinity, fluvial carbon, and priority pollutant elements. In this study, the effects of fen reclamation and elevated sulfate levels on mercury (Hg) fate and transport in the constructed system were assessed. Total mercury (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) concentrations in the fen sediment were lower than in two nearby natural fens, which may be due to the higher mineral content of the Sandhill Fen peat mix and/or a loss of Hg through evasion during the peat harvesting, stockpiling and placement processes. Porewater MeHg concentrations in the Sandhill Fen typically did not exceed 1.0 ng L(-1). The low MeHg concentrations may be a result of elevated porewater sulfate concentrations (mean 346 mg L(-1)) and an increase in sulphide concentrations with depth in the peat, which are known to suppress MeHg production. Total Hg and MeHg concentrations increased during a controlled mid-summer flooding event where the water table rose above the ground surface in most of the fen. The Hg dynamics during this event showed that hydrologic fluctuations in this system exacerbate the release of THg and MeHg downstream. In addition, the elevated SO4(2-) concentrations in the peat porewaters may become a problem with respect to downstream MeHg production once the fen is hydrologically connected to a larger wetland network that is currently being constructed. PMID:27017139

  8. Oil sands tailings : reclamation goals and the state of technology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hyndman, A. [Magnus Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada); Sobkowicz, J. [Thurber Engineering, Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    This paper discussed the challenges facing the oil sands industry regarding the management of fluid fine tails (FFT). Three main FFT treatment methods are being scaled up to commercial implementation, notably sand-mature fine tailings (MFT) mixture or consolidated tailings (CT); water-capped, in-pit lake disposal; and sand-capping and surface reclamation. Additional fines-dewatering methods are needed for MFT to gain sufficient geotechnical strength. MFT accumulation incurs substantial construction, technical-monitoring, and maintenance costs. The goals are to avoid the need for ongoing maintenance, to attain geotechnically stable landforms, and to establish self-sustaining land and water features. The challenges related to achieving geotechnical stability in the reclaimed landscape with respect to both in-pit and out-of-pit deposits were discussed. De-watering should allow MFT to develop strength at a rate sufficient to allow for timely capping and low compressibility to minimize post-closure settlement. The time frame for achieving sufficient de-watering is a critical parameter. The 3 fundamental approaches to remediating fine tailings include enriching sand with fines; separately treating MFT or Thickened Tailings (TT) to attain sufficient dewatering; and sequestering fines under water in a geotechnically secure pit. It was concluded that mine reclamation and closure plans will require a suite of reclamation methods that can be tailored to specific site conditions. 5 refs., 2 tabs., 8 figs.

  9. Assessment of metal releases and leachate toxicity of oil sands coke

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Large volumes of coke are produced as a by-product of thermal upgrading of oil sands bitumen in Alberta. This paper examined the feasibility of integrating this stored by-product at wetland reclamation sites. Coke leachate water toxicity was evaluated in this study since coke is known to releases trace amounts of metals when it comes in contact with water. The objective was to determine the cause of toxicity by performing toxicity identification evaluations (TIEs) on the leachate. The leachability of metals from coke was examined over a 45 day period in 2-L glass jars using reconstituted water with a hardness of 300 mg/L as calcium carbonate (CaCO3) at pH levels 5.5 and 9.5. Coke porewater samples and overlying water samples collected periodically were analyzed for trace metals using inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS). The toxicity of coke leachate was evaluated at the end of the 45 day period using a Ceriodaphnia dubia standard three-brood chronic test with survival and reproduction as endpoints. Coke leachate water from both pH treatments had a negative effect on survival and reproduction of C. dubia. The coke leachate had high concentrations of vanadium, according to metal analysis of leachate water from both pH treatments. In order to identify the cause of toxicity, the coke leachate water will be subjected to several TIE processes

  10. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands: Volume 1. Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oblad, A.G.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1997-11-26

    The program is composed of 20 projects, of which 17 are laboratory bench or laboratory pilot scale processes or computer process simulations that are performed in existing facilities on the University of Utah campus in north-east Salt Lake City. These tasks are: (1) coupled fluidized-bed bitumen recovery and coked sand combustion; (2) water-based recovery of bitumen; (3) oil sand pyrolysis in a continuous rotary kiln reactor; (4) oil sand pyrolysis in a large diameter fluidized bed reactor; (5) oil sand pyrolysis in a small diameter fluidized bed reactor; (6) combustion of spent sand in a transport reactor; (7) recovery and upgrading of oil sand bitumen using solvent extraction methods; (8) fixed-bed hydrotreating of Uinta Basin bitumens and bitumen-derived hydrocarbon liquids; (9) ebullieted bed hydrotreating of bitumen and bitumen derived liquids; (10) bitumen upgrading by hydropyrolysis; (11) evaluation of Utah`s major oil sand deposits for the production of asphalt, high-energy jet fuels and other specialty products; (12) characterization of the bitumens and reservoir rocks from the Uinta Basin oil sand deposits; (13) bitumen upgrading pilot plant recommendations; (14) liquid-solid separation and fine tailings thickening; (15) in-situ production of heavy oil from Uinta Basin oil sand deposits; (16) oil sand research and development group analytical facility; and (17) process economics. This volume contains an executive summary and reports for five of these projects. 137 figs., 49 tabs.

  11. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands: Volume 2. Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oblad, A.G.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1997-11-26

    The program is composed of 20 projects, of which 17 are laboratory bench or laboratory pilot scale processes or computer process simulations that are performed in existing facilities on the University of Utah campus in north-east Salt Lake City. These tasks are: (1) coupled fluidized-bed bitumen recovery and coked sand combustion; (2) water-based recovery of bitumen; (3) oil sand pyrolysis in a continuous rotary kiln reactor; (4) oil sand pyrolysis in a large diameter fluidized bed reactor; (5) oil sand pyrolysis in a small diameter fluidized bed reactor; (6) combustion of spent sand in a transport reactor; (7) recovery and upgrading of oil sand bitumen using solvent extraction methods; (8) fixed-bed hydrotreating of Uinta Basin bitumens and bitumen-derived hydrocarbon liquids; (9) ebullieted bed hydrotreating of bitumen and bitumen derived liquids; (10) bitumen upgrading by hydropyrolysis; (11) evaluation of Utah`s major oil sand deposits for the production of asphalt, high-energy jet fuels and other specialty products; (12) characterization of the bitumens and reservoir rocks from the Uinta Basin oil sand deposits; (13) bitumen upgrading pilot plant recommendations; (14) liquid-solid separation and fine tailings thickening; (15) in-situ production of heavy oil from Uinta Basin oil sand deposits; (16) oil sand research and development group analytical facility; and (17) process economics. This volume contains reports on nine of these projects, references, and a bibliography. 351 refs., 192 figs., 65 tabs.

  12. Processing of tailings in Canadian oil sands industry

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2002-01-01

    Vast amounts of tailings are produced daily in bitumen extraction from the Athabasca oil sands. The coarse sand from the tailings stream is used to build dykes around the containment basin. The run-off slurry arrives at the water's edge in the tailings pond at a solids concentration of about 3%~8% by mass. Settling of the solids takes place "relatively fast", over several days, creating a "free water zone" that contains little solids. When the fine mineral solids concentration has reached about 15% by mass, the suspension develops non-Newtonian properties. After 2~3 years, the suspension concentration reaches a value of about 30% by mass at which the settling rate becomes extremely slow. Methods to handle the already created tailings ponds and new approaches to eliminate the creation of new ones will be discussed both from the industrial and fundamental prospective.

  13. Characterization of napthenic acids in oil sands process-affected waters using fluorescence technology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Process-affected water from oil sands production plants presents a major environmental challenge to oil sands operators due to its toxicity to different organisms as well as its corrosiveness in refinery units. This abstract investigated the use of fluorescence excitation-emission matrices to detect and characterize changes in naphthenic acid in oil sands process-affected waters. Samples from oil sands production plants and storage ponds were tested. The study showed that oil sands naphthenic acids show characteristic fluorescence signatures when excited by ultraviolet light in the range of 260 to 350 mm. The signal was a unique attribute of the naphthenic acid molecule. Changes in the fluorescence signature can be used to determine chemical changes such as degradation or aging. It was concluded that the technology can be used as a non-invasive continuous water quality monitoring tool to increase process control in oil sands processing plants

  14. Characterization of napthenic acids in oil sands process-affected waters using fluorescence technology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brown, L.; Alostaz, M.; Ulrich, A. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    2009-07-01

    Process-affected water from oil sands production plants presents a major environmental challenge to oil sands operators due to its toxicity to different organisms as well as its corrosiveness in refinery units. This abstract investigated the use of fluorescence excitation-emission matrices to detect and characterize changes in naphthenic acid in oil sands process-affected waters. Samples from oil sands production plants and storage ponds were tested. The study showed that oil sands naphthenic acids show characteristic fluorescence signatures when excited by ultraviolet light in the range of 260 to 350 mm. The signal was a unique attribute of the naphthenic acid molecule. Changes in the fluorescence signature can be used to determine chemical changes such as degradation or aging. It was concluded that the technology can be used as a non-invasive continuous water quality monitoring tool to increase process control in oil sands processing plants.

  15. The strategic value of upgrading at Suncor's oils sands plant

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The upgrader operated by Suncor's Oil Sands Group (OSG) is a key component of the company's value chain due to its ability to upgrade low value bitumen into high quality petroleum products. This ability is enhanced by the fact that the oil sands plant is an integrated process, with the upgrading facility located at the same site as the bitumen source. The value enhancement achieved across the upgrader is particularly great during periods of high heavy/light oil price spreads. These spreads are currently at high levels, and Suncor believes that this will continue for at least the medium term given domestic supply and environmental factors, with the exception of a local effect as the Bi-Provincial upgrader comes on line. The current inelasticity of the base demand for light, sweet crude will contribute to this effect. The upgrader's potential will also be exploited as part of OSG's strategic plan to significantly expand its product slate. Currently, 94% of the plant's production is a generic light, sweet, resid-free synthetic crude. The upgrader is capable, however, of producing a wide variety of premium products which can be customized to meet the needs of specific customers. Marketing these products will enhance the company's profitability and allow it to better serve its new and existing customers. 5 figs

  16. Effects of beach sand properties, temperature and rainfall on the degradation rates of oil in buried oil/beach sand mixtures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowland, A P; Lindley, D K; Hall, G H; Rossall, M J; Wilson, D R; Benham, D G; Harrison, A F; Daniels, R E

    2000-07-01

    Lysimeters located outdoors have been used to evaluate the decomposition of buried oily beach sand waste (OBS) prepared using Forties light crude oil and sand from different locations around the British coast. The OBS (5% oil by weight) was buried as a 12-cm layer over dune pasture sub-sand and overlain by 20 cm of dune pasture topsoil. Decomposition rates of oil residues averaged 2300 kg ha(-1) in the first year and the pattern of oil decomposition may be represented by a power curve. Oil decomposition was strongly related to the temperature in the OBS layer, but was also significantly affected by rainfall in the previous 12 h. The CO(2) flux at the surface of the treatment lysimeters followed the relationship [log(10) CO(2) (mg C m(-2) h(-1))=0.93+0.058x OBS temp. (degrees C)-0.042x12 h rain (mm)]. There was considerable variation in the rate of oil decomposition in sands collected from different sites. Sand from Askernish supported most microbial activity whilst sand from Tain was relatively inactive. The decomposition process appeared to cease when the sand became saturated with water, i.e. temporarily anaerobic. However, decomposition recommenced when the soil dried out. The fastest rate of decomposition occurred in sand from one of the two sites predicted to have high populations of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria. Larger particle size and higher Ca content may also be significant factors governing the rate of decomposition. PMID:15092918

  17. Native bitumens in surficial soils of the Athabasca oil sands region : preliminary characterization and assessment of contaminant mobility

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fleming, M.; Fleming, I. [Saskatchewan Univ., Saskatoon, SK (Canada). Dept. of Civil and Geological Engineering; Headley, J. [Environment Canada, Saskatoon, SK (Canada). National Hydrology Research Centre

    2009-07-01

    A study was conducted on bitumen tarballs located in surficial soils in Alberta's Athabasca region. The tarballs occur in every soil type in the region, and pose a challenge to oil sands operators who hope to use the soils for reclamation activities. Chromatographic analyses have shown that the tarballs contain variable petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations and possess a characteristic chromatographic footprint. The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment has characterized the hydrocarbons according to various fractions. A soil-column leaching study is also being conducted by the University of Saskatchewan on heavily-impacted tarball soil under unsaturated conditions. Results of the study have indicated that the soil has low levels of contaminant mobility and degradation. Hydrocarbon concentrations in leachate water are less than 20 per cent of ground water guidelines for Alberta. It was concluded that after respiration over 9 months, the most active soil column in the study degraded only 2.7 g of an estimated 650 g.

  18. Nuclear Technology and Canadian Oil Sands: Integration of Nuclear Power with In-Situ Oil Extraction

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This report analyzes the technical aspects and the economics of utilizing nuclear reactors to provide the energy needed for a Canadian oil sands extraction facility using Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) technology. The energy from the nuclear reactor would replace the energy supplied by natural gas, which is currently burned at these facilities. There are a number of concerns surrounding the continued use of natural gas, including carbon dioxide emissions and increasing gas prices. Three scenarios for the use of the reactor are analyzed:(1) using the reactor to produce only the steam needed for the SAGD process; (2) using the reactor to produce steam as well as electricity for the oil sands facility; and (3) using the reactor to produce steam, electricity, and hydrogen for upgrading the bitumen from the oil sands to syncrude, a material similar to conventional crude oil. Three reactor designs were down-selected from available options to meet the expected mission demands and siting requirements. These include the Canadian ACR- 700, Westinghouse's AP 600 and the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR). The report shows that nuclear energy would be feasible, practical, and economical for use at an oil sands facility. Nuclear energy is two to three times cheaper than natural gas for each of the three scenarios analyzed. Also, by using nuclear energy instead of natural gas, a plant producing 100,000 barrels of bitumen per day would prevent up to 100 mega-tonnes of CO2 per year from being released into the atmosphere. (authors)

  19. Exploring the biodegradation and toxicity of naphthenic acids present in Athabasca oil sands process affected waters using simulated wetlands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Naphthenic acids (NAs) are a persistent group of dissolved organic acids found in oil sands process affected water (OSPW) from the Athabasca Oil Sands (AOS) in northern Alberta. This study investigated the feasibility of reducing the toxicity of OSPW in wetland environments, and proposed a strategy for reclamation at the AOS. Laboratory microcosms were used to mimic natural wetlands. The purpose was to determine if the toxicities of OSPWs generated by Syncrude Canada Ltd. (Syncrude) and Suncor Energy Inc. (Suncor) change with time as a result of aging and biodegradation. Experiments involved 2 types of OSPW obtained from Syncrude and Suncor. Nutrient availability (nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment) was increased for both short and long hydraulic retention times (40 and 400 days). The NAs found in the OSPW were tracked over the course of one year using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry and Microtox bioassays. The objective was to determine the relationships between total NA concentrations, the degree to which different sub-groups of NAs are biodegraded and any potential reduction in OSPW toxicity

  20. Canadian entrepreneur looks to Utah oil sands : possible hurdles include gaining acceptance for a new technology, funding and regulatory approval

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Diekmeyer, P.

    2010-09-15

    Alberta-based Earth Energy Resources has chosen Utah for its first major oilsand development project. Utah has excellent oil sands resources, but most cannot be economically extracted using conventional methods. The president of Earth Energy Resources has proposed to use new technologies, processes and workflow methods to make resource extraction economically viable. The company currently holds a 100 percent interest in 3,170 hectares under lease from the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) in the PR Spring deposit. The recoverable high-quality bitumen is estimated at 250 million barrels. The oil sands in Utah are disaggregated and spread out over a relatively wide area. The bitumen quality is very similar to that found in the Athabasca deposit, but it has a much lower sulphur content. Earth Energy Resources plans on using the Ophus Process which involves a series of small 2,000 barrel per day production facilities that can be easily set up, and moved as the resources in one particular area are recovered. Production could be expanded as needed by the addition of more facilities. An environmentally sound citrus-based extraction chemical will replace much of the mechanical energy and caustic soda mixture used in the Clark Process. The new energy and water efficient process will significantly reduce the quantity of middlings produced in the process, thereby eliminating the need for tailings ponds and reducing environmental impacts. 1 fig.

  1. Breaking the bottleneck : how best can we bring oil sands products to demanding markets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Alberta-based Altex Energy Ltd. is pursuing the development of an innovative heavy oil/bitumen pipeline from Alberta to the United States Gulf Coast (USGC). This energy infrastructure development company is led by a proven management team that developed and constructed the 3,700 km long Alliance Pipeline system. This presentation included a map of the $3.7 billion dollar Alliance Pipeline that identified the mainline compressor stations, lateral compressor stations, area offices and head offices. It was noted that oilsands will represent the most significant resource plays for many years. A graph indicating bitumen supply forecasts from 2005 to 2020 suggests that bitumen production will have exponential growth over the foreseeable future. Labor, materials and infrastructure limitations will create barriers to oilsands growth, as will uncertain market access. For that reason, assured pipeline capacity is needed along with an infrastructure to refineries and a favourable competitive balance for Canadian producers. The presentation addressed issues regarding marketing choices and the challenges of upgrading in Alberta. The economics of diluting heavy oil was also discussed along with industry response to the diluent challenge. Altex's proposed solution of a new direct greenfield pipeline from Alberta to the USGC would reach the largest refinery market in North America as well as the largest heavy oil/bitumen consuming regions. The Altex solution would be complementary to heavy oil/bitumen in Alberta. The proprietary pipeline technology permits alternative diluents, eliminating much of the diluent penalty. It mitigates the risks of upgrading in Alberta and competes on a cost basis with other expansion alternatives. The Altex pipeline system eliminates the need for costly condensate diluent, but accepts all current diluents. It transports up to 90 per cent more bitumen than clean diluted bitumen in a conventional pipeline. It can also transport as much as 175 per cent

  2. Identification of causes of oil sands coke leachate toxicity

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Puttaswamy, N.; Liber, K. [Saskatchewan Univ., Regina, SK (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    The potential causes of oil sands coke leachate toxicity were investigated. Chronic 7-day toxicity tests were conducted to demonstrate that oil sands coke leachates (CL) are acutely toxic to Ceriodaphnia dubia (C. dubia). CLs were generated in a laboratory to perform toxicity identification evaluation (TIE) tests in order to investigate the causes of the CL toxicity. The coke was subjected to a 15-day batch leaching process at 5.5 and 9.5 pH values. The leachates were then filtered and used for chemical and toxicological characterization. The 7-day estimates for the C. dubia survival were 6.3 for a pH of 5.5 and 28.7 per cent for the 9.5 CLs. The addition of EDTA significantly improved survival and reproduction in a pH of 5.5 CL, but not in a pH of 9.5 CL. The toxicity of the pH 5.5 CL was removed with a cationic resin treatment. The toxicity of the 9.5 pH LC was removed using an anion resin treatment. Toxicity re-appeared when nickel (Ni) and vanadium (V) were added back to the resin-treated CLs. Results of the study suggested that Ni and V were acting as primary toxicants in the pH 5.5 CL, while V was the primary cause of toxicity in the pH 9.5 CL.

  3. Membrane technology to improve water management in oil sands operations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This paper presents the results of a bench-scale experiment designed to improve water management in oil sands processing using a membrane technology. The study addressed the following two aspects of water management: (1) reducing the hardness of water used in technological processes, and (2) reducing the toxicity in effluent streams caused by the presence of naphthenic acids. Both issues were also addressed through the evaluation of a membrane separation process called nanofiltration. The primary focus of this study was to choose an appropriate membrane and to determine its subsequent ability to reduce the hardness from groundwater and remove naphthenic acids from discharge water. The study revealed that nanofiltration technology is a good water management tool in oil sands operations. Membrane filtration managed to reduce water hardness significantly. A high napthenic acid removal efficiency (up to 94 per cent) was noted for both synthetic solutions and actual water samples. Permeate flux was also maintained at a high level of 15 litres per square metre per hour or more. A 90 per cent water recovery was obtained by reducing the feed volume by 10 fold. 14 refs., 6 tabs., 7 figs

  4. Identification of causes of oil sands coke leachate toxicity

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The potential causes of oil sands coke leachate toxicity were investigated. Chronic 7-day toxicity tests were conducted to demonstrate that oil sands coke leachates (CL) are acutely toxic to Ceriodaphnia dubia (C. dubia). CLs were generated in a laboratory to perform toxicity identification evaluation (TIE) tests in order to investigate the causes of the CL toxicity. The coke was subjected to a 15-day batch leaching process at 5.5 and 9.5 pH values. The leachates were then filtered and used for chemical and toxicological characterization. The 7-day estimates for the C. dubia survival were 6.3 for a pH of 5.5 and 28.7 per cent for the 9.5 CLs. The addition of EDTA significantly improved survival and reproduction in a pH of 5.5 CL, but not in a pH of 9.5 CL. The toxicity of the pH 5.5 CL was removed with a cationic resin treatment. The toxicity of the 9.5 pH LC was removed using an anion resin treatment. Toxicity re-appeared when nickel (Ni) and vanadium (V) were added back to the resin-treated CLs. Results of the study suggested that Ni and V were acting as primary toxicants in the pH 5.5 CL, while V was the primary cause of toxicity in the pH 9.5 CL.

  5. Conducting SAGD in shoreface oil sands with associated basal water

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Peterson, J.A.; Riva, D.T.; Connelly, M.E.; Solanki, S.C.; Edmunds, N.R. [Laricina Energy Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2009-07-01

    The use of steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) processes has been concentrated around the McMurray Formation in the eastern Athabasca deposit. This paper discussed a SAGD scheme configured to maximize bitumen recovery from shoreface oil sands in the Grand Rapids formation in the Wabasca area. The region features clean sand with a homogenous and continuous reservoir pay. Producer wells were placed within the basal water zone at the base of the porosity region. A scaled 2-D physical model with an active aquifer system was used to examine well configurations in relation to oil-water content and their impacts on resource recovery. Simulations were conducted to compare the well placements. Results of the study showed that fluids flowed towards the producer in a radial pattern. Bitumen was drawn down towards the bottom water leg regardless of whether the chamber pressure was above that of the aquifer. Thirty-eight per cent more bitumen was produced as a result of increased reservoir sweep. It was concluded that placement of the producer well at the base of the porous interval improved the overall economics of the project. 2 refs., 3 tabs., 10 figs.

  6. Degradation and aquatic toxicity of naphthenic acids in oil sands process-affected waters using simulated wetlands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toor, Navdeep S; Franz, Eric D; Fedorak, Phillip M; MacKinnon, Michael D; Liber, Karsten

    2013-01-01

    Oil sands process-affected waters (OSPWs) produced during the extraction of bitumen at the Athabasca Oil Sands (AOS) located in northeastern Alberta, Canada, are toxic to many aquatic organisms. Much of this toxicity is related to a group of dissolved organic acids known as naphthenic acids (NAs). Naphthenic acids are a natural component of bitumen and are released into process water during the separation of bitumen from the oil sand ore by a caustic hot water extraction process. Using laboratory microcosms as an analogue of a proposed constructed wetland reclamation strategy for OSPW, we evaluated the effectiveness of these microcosms in degrading NAs and reducing the aquatic toxicity of OSPW over a 52-week test period. Experimental manipulations included two sources of OSPW (one from Syncrude Canada Ltd. and one from Suncor Energy Inc.), two different hydraulic retention times (HRTs; 40 and 400 d), and increased nutrient availability (added nitrate and phosphate). Microcosms with a longer HRT (for both OSPWs) showed higher reductions in total NAs concentrations (64-74% NAs reduction, pacute rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) bioassay showed that the initial acute toxicity of Syncrude OSPW (LC50=67% v/v) was reduced (LC50>100% v/v) independent of HRT. However, EC20s from separate Microtox® bioassays were relatively unchanged when comparing the input and microcosm waters at both HRTs over the 52-week study period (p>0.05), indicating that some sub-lethal toxicity persisted under these experimental conditions. The present study demonstrated that given sufficiently long HRTs, simulated wetland microcosms containing OSPW significantly reduced total NAs concentrations and acute toxicity, but left behind a persistent component of the NAs mixture that appeared to be associated with residual chronic toxicity. PMID:23000048

  7. Ambient air quality trends in Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This document provided an overview of ambient air pollutant trends in Alberta. The report discussed the following pollutants having effect on human and environmental health: carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen sulphide (H2S), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), fine particulate matter (PM2.5), benzene, and benzopyrene. Each of these pollutants was described. The report provided data on annual average concentration trends and annual 99th percentile concentration as an indicator of peak concentrations. A map illustrating air quality monitoring stations in 2006 was also provided. The findings revealed that mean annual CO levels were the lowest they have been since 1990; hydrogen sulphide concentrations have fluctuated in time since 1990; most Edmonton and Calgary area stations showed significant decreasing trends in annual average NO2 levels since 1990; and higher SO2 concentrations have been found in the industrial areas of Alberta, such as the Redwater and Scotford oil sands locations. tabs., figs

  8. Development of a nuclear steam generator system for gas-cooled reactors for application in oil sands extraction

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Canada has vast energy reserves in the Oil Sands regions of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Present extraction technologies, such as strip mining, where oil deposits are close to the surface, and Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) technologies for deeper deposits consume significant amounts of energy to produce the bitumen and upgraded synthetic crude oil. Studies have been performed to assess the feasibility of using nuclear reactors as primary energy sources to produce, in particular the steam required for the SAGD deeper deposit extraction process. Presently available reactors fall short of meeting the requirements, in two areas: the steam produced in a 'standard' reactor is too low in pressure and temperature for the SAGD process. Requirements can be for steam as high as 12MPa pressure with superheat; and, 'standard' reactors are too large in total output. Ideally, reactors of output in the range of 400 to 500 MWth, in modules are better suited to Oil Sands applications. The above two requirements can be met using gas-cooled reactors. Generally, newer generation gas-cooled reactors have been designed for power generation, using Brayton Cycle gas turbines run directly from the heated reactor coolant (helium). Where secondary steam is required, heat recovery steam generators have been used. In this paper, a steam generating system is described which uses the high temperature helium from the reactor directly for steam generation purposes, with sufficient quantities of steam produced to allow for SAGD steam injection, power generation using a steam turbine-generator, and with potential secondary energy supply for other purposes such as hydrogen production for upgrading, and environmental remediation processes. It is assumed that the reactors will be in one central location, run by a utility type organization, providing process steam and electricity to surrounding Oil Sands projects, so steam produced is at very high pressure (12 MPa), with superheat, in order to

  9. Development of a nuclear steam generator system for gas-cooled reactors for application in oil sands extraction

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Smith, J.; Hart, R.; Lazic, L. [SNC-Lavlin Nuclear Inc. (Canada)

    2009-07-01

    Canada has vast energy reserves in the Oil Sands regions of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Present extraction technologies, such as strip mining, where oil deposits are close to the surface, and Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) technologies for deeper deposits consume significant amounts of energy to produce the bitumen and upgraded synthetic crude oil. Studies have been performed to assess the feasibility of using nuclear reactors as primary energy sources to produce, in particular the steam required for the SAGD deeper deposit extraction process. Presently available reactors fall short of meeting the requirements, in two areas: the steam produced in a 'standard' reactor is too low in pressure and temperature for the SAGD process. Requirements can be for steam as high as 12MPa pressure with superheat; and, 'standard' reactors are too large in total output. Ideally, reactors of output in the range of 400 to 500 MWth, in modules are better suited to Oil Sands applications. The above two requirements can be met using gas-cooled reactors. Generally, newer generation gas-cooled reactors have been designed for power generation, using Brayton Cycle gas turbines run directly from the heated reactor coolant (helium). Where secondary steam is required, heat recovery steam generators have been used. In this paper, a steam generating system is described which uses the high temperature helium from the reactor directly for steam generation purposes, with sufficient quantities of steam produced to allow for SAGD steam injection, power generation using a steam turbine-generator, and with potential secondary energy supply for other purposes such as hydrogen production for upgrading, and environmental remediation processes. It is assumed that the reactors will be in one central location, run by a utility type organization, providing process steam and electricity to surrounding Oil Sands projects, so steam produced is at very high pressure (12 MPa), with

  10. Properties Correlations and Characterization of Athabasca Oil Sands-derived Synthetic Crude Oil

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Wang Jun; Zhao Suoqi; Xu Chunming; Chung Keng H.

    2007-01-01

    Narrow fractions of Athabasca oil sands-derived synthetic crude oil (SCO) from Canada were obtained by distillation at 20 ℃ to 500 ℃ and characterized. The yield and properties, such as density, refractive index, viscosity,freezing point, sulfur and nitrogen content and UOP K-index, were correlated as a function of boiling temperature (Tb).The properties of naphtha fractions, jet fuel and diesel fractions could be predicted accurately with the correlations, which are useful for process design considerations, such as optimizing operating conditions of refinery processing units. The other key properties and characteristics of naphtha fractions, jet fuel, diesel and vacuum gas oil were also determined.

  11. Draft Genome Sequences of Campylobacterales (Epsilonproteobacteria) Obtained from Methanogenic Oil Sands Tailings Pond Metagenomes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tan, BoonFei

    2014-01-01

    Draft genome sequences of two Campylobacterales (Sulfurospirillum sp. strain SCADC and Sulfuricurvum sp. strain MLSB [Mildred Lake Settling Basin]) were obtained by taxonomic binning of metagenomes originating from an oil sands tailings pond. Both genomes contain soxABXYZ genes involved in sulfur oxidation, highlighting their potential roles in sulfur cycling in oil sands tailings ponds. PMID:25323712

  12. NUMERICAL SIMULATION OF PARTICLE SEPARATION IN AN OIL-SAND SEPARATOR

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2001-01-01

    The gathering systems of crude oil are greatly endangered by thefine sand and soil in oil. Up to now, how to separate sand from the viscid oil is still a technical problem for oil production home or abroad. Recently, Institute of Mechanics in Chinese Academy of Sciences hasdeveloped a new type of oil-sand separator, which has been applied successfully in oil field in situ. In this paper, the numerical method of vortex-stream function is used to predict the liquid-solid separating course and the efficiency for this oil-sand separator. Results show that the viscosity and particle diameter have much influence on the particle motion. The calculating separating efficiency is compared with that of experiment and indicates that this method can be used to model the complex two-phase flow in the separator.

  13. Analysis of Proppant Hydraulic Fracturing in a Sand Oil Reservoir in Southwest of Iran

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Reza Masoomi

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Hydraulic fracturing is one way to increase the productivity of oil and gas wells. One of the most fundamental successes of hydraulic fracturing operation is selecting the proper size and type of proppants which are used during the process. The aim of this study is optimizing the type and size of used propant in hydraulic fracturing operation in a sand oil reservoir in southwest of Iran. In this study sand and ceramic (sintered bauxite have been considered as proppant type. Also the various types of resin-coated sand and resin-coated ceramic have been considered. Then the various scenarios have been designed to optimize the size and type of proppant used in hydraulic fracturing in a sand oil reservoir in southwest of Iran. Also in this study increasing the cumulative oil recovery in fractured and Non-fractured wells in a sand oil reservoir in southwest of Iran have been investigated.

  14. Initial geochemical characteristics of fluid fine tailings in an oil sands end pit lake.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dompierre, Kathryn A; Lindsay, Matthew B J; Cruz-Hernández, Pablo; Halferdahl, Geoffrey M

    2016-06-15

    Geochemical characteristics of fluid fine tailings (FFT) were examined in Base Mine Lake (BML), which is the first full-scale demonstration oil sands end pit lake (EPL) in northern Alberta, Canada. Approximately 186Mm(3) of FFT was deposited between 1994 and 2012, before BML was established on December 31, 2012. Bulk FFT samples (n=588) were collected in July and August 2013 at various depths at 15 sampling sites. Temperature, solid content, electrical conductivity (EC), pH, Eh and alkalinity were measured for all samples. Detailed geochemical analyses were performed on a subset of samples (n=284). Pore-water pH decreased with depth by approximately 0.5 within the upper 10m of the FFT. Major pore-water constituents included Na (880±96mgL(-1)) and Cl (560±95mgL(-1)); Ca (19±4.1mgL(-1)), Mg (11±2.0mgL(-1)), K (16±2.3mgL(-1)) and NH3 (9.9±4.7mgL(-1)) were consistently observed. Iron and Mn concentrations were low within FFT pore water, whereas SO4 concentrations decreased sharply across the FFT-water interface. Geochemical modeling indicated that FeS(s) precipitation was favoured under SO4-reducing conditions. Pore water was also under-saturated with respect to gypsum [CaSO4·2H2O], and near saturation with respect to calcite [CaCO3], dolomite [CaMg(CO3)2] and siderite [FeCO3]. X-ray diffraction (XRD) suggested that carbonate-mineral dissolution largely depleted calcite and dolomite. X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy revealed the presence of FeS(s), pyrite [FeS2], and siderite. Carbonate-mineral dissolution and secondary mineral precipitation have likely contributed to FFT dewatering and settlement. However, the long-term importance of these processes within EPLs remains unknown. These results provide a reference for assessing the long-term geochemical evolution of oil sands EPLs, and offer insight into the chemistry of pore water released from FFT to the overlying water cover. PMID:26974568

  15. Carbon dynamics, food web structure and reclamation strategies in Athabasca oil sands wetlands (CFRAW)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The remediation and ecology of oilsands constructed wetlands was discussed with reference to a project known as the Carbon dynamics, Food web structure and Reclamation strategies in Athabasca oil sands Wetlands (CFRAW). This joint project between 7 mining partners and 5 universities documents how tailings in constructed wetlands modify maturation leading to natural conditions in a reclaimed landscape. Since wetlands are expected to make up 20-50 per cent of the final reclamation landscape of areas surface mined for oil sands in northeastern Alberta, the project focuses on how quickly wetlands amended with reclamation materials approach the conditions seen in reference wetland systems. This study provided a conceptual model of carbon pathways and budgets to evaluate how the allocation of carbon among compartments changes as newly formed wetlands mature in the boreal system. It is likely that succession and community development will accelerate if constructed wetlands are supplemented with stockpiled peat or topsoil. The bitumens and naphthenic acids found in wetlands constructed with mine tailings materials are initially toxic, but may ultimately serve as an alternate source of carbon once they degrade or are metabolized by bacteria. This study evaluated the sources, biological uptake, pathways, and movement through the food web of materials used by the biota in constructed wetlands, with particular reference to how productivity of new wetlands is maintained. Net ecosystem productivity is being monitored along with rates of organic carbon accumulation from microbial, algal, and macrophyte production, and influx of outside materials. The rates of leaf litter breakdown and microbial respiration are also being monitored to determine how constituents speed or slow food web processes of young and older wetlands. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope measurements indicate which sources are incorporated into the food web as wetlands age, and how this influences community

  16. Carbon dynamics, food web structure and reclamation strategies in Athabasca oil sands wetlands (CFRAW)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ciborowski, J.J. [Windsor Univ., ON (Canada); Dixon, G. [Waterloo Univ., ON (Canada); Foote, L. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada); Liber, K.; Smits, J.E. [Saskatchewan Univ., Regina, SK (Canada)

    2007-07-01

    The remediation and ecology of oilsands constructed wetlands was discussed with reference to a project known as the Carbon dynamics, Food web structure and Reclamation strategies in Athabasca oil sands Wetlands (CFRAW). This joint project between 7 mining partners and 5 universities documents how tailings in constructed wetlands modify maturation leading to natural conditions in a reclaimed landscape. Since wetlands are expected to make up 20-50 per cent of the final reclamation landscape of areas surface mined for oil sands in northeastern Alberta, the project focuses on how quickly wetlands amended with reclamation materials approach the conditions seen in reference wetland systems. This study provided a conceptual model of carbon pathways and budgets to evaluate how the allocation of carbon among compartments changes as newly formed wetlands mature in the boreal system. It is likely that succession and community development will accelerate if constructed wetlands are supplemented with stockpiled peat or topsoil. The bitumens and naphthenic acids found in wetlands constructed with mine tailings materials are initially toxic, but may ultimately serve as an alternate source of carbon once they degrade or are metabolized by bacteria. This study evaluated the sources, biological uptake, pathways, and movement through the food web of materials used by the biota in constructed wetlands, with particular reference to how productivity of new wetlands is maintained. Net ecosystem productivity is being monitored along with rates of organic carbon accumulation from microbial, algal, and macrophyte production, and influx of outside materials. The rates of leaf litter breakdown and microbial respiration are also being monitored to determine how constituents speed or slow food web processes of young and older wetlands. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope measurements indicate which sources are incorporated into the food web as wetlands age, and how this influences community

  17. Proceedings: The Alberta Soil Science Workshop

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2002-07-01

    A total of 46 papers were presented at this two-day conference dealing with all aspects of soil science. Some topics discussed included: Soil fertility; Soil testing; Emissions from fertilizer and manure in agricultural fields; Environmental farm plans; Wetland law and policy in Alberta; Feedlot manure composting; Knowledge gaps in agricultural greenhouse gas research; Effects of cattle manure applications on soil properties; Nitrogen and phosphorus losses through surface runoff from manured soils; Modeling carbon balance of barley-fallow systems; Salt movement in capped composite tailings; Evaluation of soil structures in reclaimed oil sands soils; Scoping key soil issues for the Suncor Voyageur oil sands project; Regulatory considerations in remediation of salt-impacted soil and groundwater at upstream oil and gas facilities; Development of as method to estimate potential N mineralization across Alberta; Restorative capacity of topsoil replacement depths and organic amendments on decommissioned wellsites; Effects of compost application on the level of soil carbon dioxide concentration and the growth of Cinnamomum camphora seedlings; and others. Abstracts of all papers available on the Internet at http://www.soilsworkshop.ab.ca.abstract.

  18. Pond 1 : closure of the first oil sands tailings pond

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Anderson, H.B.; Wells, P.S.; Cox, L [Suncor Energy, Fort McMurray, AB (Canada)

    2010-10-01

    This article discussed the closure and reclamation of the first oilsands tailings pond in the Athabasca Oil Sands region. Pond 1 began construction in 1966, received tailings until 1995, and was released for reclamation in 2007. Infilling was completed in 2009, and surface land forming and revegetation were finished in the fall of 2010. The challenges associated with closing a tailings pond were unknown. Environmental goals evolved over the life of the pond, from initial absence to grass cover to prevent wind erosion, tree plantings for wildlife habitat, and finally to reclamation to viable ecosystems compatible with pre-development. The final stage involved infilling and reclamation of the pond interior. The Mature Fine Tailings were removed to a different location for storage and treatment. Infilling with course tailings sand established a trafficable surface on which to perform reclamation activities. The landform design involved a sand pile that had become bird habitat; a small marsh wetland; swales to collect and control surface runoff water; and hummocks for topographical diversity and increased biodiversity. The reclamation soil cover was a peat/mineral mix. Micro-topographical enhancements created locally diverse conditions for wildlife habitat. An excavated area was lined with a geosynthetic material for water retention, amended with peat/mineral mix, and planted with wetland species to create the marsh. The revegetation involved 33 different species of trees, shrubs, grasses, and aquatic plants. The pond closure is taking place in a highly regulated environment with a substantial knowledge base of reclamation techniques and clearly defined reclamation goals. 8 figs.

  19. Biosurfactant-producing and oil-degrading Bacillus subtilis strains enhance oil recovery in laboratory sand-pack columns

    OpenAIRE

    Gudiña, Eduardo J.; Pereira, J. F.; Costa, Rita; Coutinho, João A. P.; J.A. Teixeira; L. R. Rodrigues

    2013-01-01

    Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) technology uses microorganisms and their metabolites to retrieve unrecoverable oil from mature reservoirs. In situ stimulation of biosurfactant-producing and oil-degrading microorganisms reduces the capillary forces retaining the oil inside the reservoir and decreases its viscosity, thus promoting oil flow and consequently production. In this work, a sand-pack column model was designed to simulate oil recovery operations and evaluate mobilization of resi...

  20. Alberta's reserves 2003 and supply/demand outlook 2004-2013. rev. ed.

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This document presents information on the state of reserves, supply, and demand for Alberta's energy resources including bitumen, crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids, coal, and sulphur. Estimates of initial reserves, remaining established reserves, and ultimate potential were also included, along with a 10-year supply and demand forecast for Alberta's energy resources. The development of Alberta's energy resources depends on reserve supply, costs of development, energy demands, conservation, and social, economic and environmental considerations. The energy development landscape in 2003 was largely determined by changes in energy prices, drilling activity, and planned investments in the range of billions of dollars in oil sands projects. Raw bitumen production continued to surpass the growth of conventional crude oil production. In 2003, 53 per cent of the province's crude oil and equivalent production was in the form of non-upgraded bitumen and synthetic crude oil production. This growth can be explained by increased bitumen production from oil sands mining. Approval was granted for several steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) schemes, and many more are under review by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB). Higher volumes of commercial production are expected from those schemes in future years. Natural gas production declined in 2003 and is expected to stay the same in 2004. Continued growth in coalbed methane (CBM) development activity is expected for 2003 and for the next few years. A separate estimate of CBM reserves will be published for the first time in 2003. tabs., figs

  1. Regional sustainable development strategy for the Athabasca Oil Sands area

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Regional Sustainable Development Strategy (RSDS) provides a framework for balancing development with environmental protection. This provisional direction for sustainable resource management was confirmed in a March 1999 policy document. It is as follows: the use of Alberta's natural resources shall be sustainable, the management of Alberta's natural resources shall support and promote the Alberta economy, Alberta's environment shall be protected, resources shall be managed on an integrated basis, and Alberta's natural resources shall be managed for multiple benefits. The focus of the RSDS is to address the need to balance resource development and environmental protection. The report covers: an overview, the Regional Sustainable Development Strategy and the RSDS management model. Blueprints for action concerning the impacts of oilsands development are provided under 14 themes, including 1) cumulative impacts on wildlife, fish habitat and populations, surface and groundwater quality and 2) human health effects of air emissions and effects of air emissions on wildlife and vegetation. The RSDS will apply provincial and federal policy, legislation, standards and programs in a regional context, including principles in the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Harmonization Accord

  2. Beyond Naphthenic Acids: Environmental Screening of Water from Natural Sources and the Athabasca Oil Sands Industry Using Atmospheric Pressure Photoionization Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barrow, Mark P.; Peru, Kerry M.; Fahlman, Brian; Hewitt, L. Mark; Frank, Richard A.; Headley, John V.

    2015-09-01

    There is a growing need for environmental screening of natural waters in the Athabasca region of Alberta, Canada, particularly in the differentiation between anthropogenic and naturally-derived organic compounds associated with weathered bitumen deposits. Previous research has focused primarily upon characterization of naphthenic acids in water samples by negative-ion electrospray ionization methods. Atmospheric pressure photoionization is a much less widely used ionization method, but one that affords the possibility of observing low polarity compounds that cannot be readily observed by electrospray ionization. This study describes the first usage of atmospheric pressure photoionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (in both positive-ion and negative-ion modes) to characterize and compare extracts of oil sands process water, river water, and groundwater samples from areas associated with oil sands mining activities. When comparing mass spectra previously obtained by electrospray ionization and data acquired by atmospheric pressure photoionization, there can be a doubling of the number of components detected. In addition to polar compounds that have previously been observed, low-polarity, sulfur-containing compounds and hydrocarbons that do not incorporate a heteroatom were detected. These latter components, which are not amenable to electrospray ionization, have potential for screening efforts within monitoring programs of the oil sands.

  3. Identification of detoxification pathways in plants that are regulated in response to treatment with organic compounds isolated from oil sands process-affected water.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Widdup, Ellen E; Chatfield-Reed, Kate; Henry, Darren; Chua, Gordon; Samuel, Marcus A; Muench, Douglas G

    2015-11-01

    Bitumen mining in the Athabasca oil sands region of northern Alberta results in the accumulation of large volumes of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). The acid-extractable organic (AEO) fraction of OSPW contains a variety of compounds, including naphthenic acids, aromatics, and sulfur- and nitrogen-containing compounds that are toxic to aquatic and terrestrial organisms. We have studied the effect of AEO treatment on the transcriptome of root and shoot tissues in seedlings of the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. Several genes encoding enzymes involved in the xenobiotic detoxification pathway were upregulated, including cytochrome P450s (CYPs), UDP-dependent glycosyltransferases (UGTs), glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs), and membrane transporters. In addition, gene products involved in oxidative stress, β-oxidation, and glucosinolate degradation were also upregulated, indicating other potential mechanisms of the adaptive response to AEO exposure. These results provide insight into the pathways that plants use to detoxify the organic acid component of OSPW. Moreover, this study advances our understanding of genes that could be exploited to potentially develop phytoremediation and biosensing strategies for AEO contaminants resulting from oil sands mining. PMID:26052061

  4. Effects of oil sands tailings compounds and harsh weather on mortality rates, growth and detoxification efforts in nestling tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oil sands mining companies in Alberta, Canada, are evaluating the feasibility of using wetlands to detoxify oil sands process material (OSPM) as a reclamation strategy. Reproductive success, nestling growth, survival and ethoxyresorufin-o-deethylase (EROD) activity were measured in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) on experimental wetlands. In 2003, harsh weather triggered a widespread nestling die-off. Mortality rates on the control site reached 48% while they ranged from 59% to 100% on reclaimed wetlands. The odds of dying on the most process-affected sites were more than ten times higher than those on the control site. In 2004, weather was less challenging. Mortality rates were low, but nestlings on reclaimed wetlands weighed less than those on the control site, and had higher EROD activity. These results indicate that compared with reference birds, nestlings from OSPM-impacted wetlands may be less able to withstand additional stressors, which could decrease their chances of survival after fledging. - Under natural stress caused by harsh weather, birds exposed to chemicals from the oil sands extraction process suffered higher mortality than those in control areas

  5. Investigation of Primary Recovery in Low-Permeability Oil Formations: A Look at the Cardium Formation, Alberta (Canada

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ghaderi S.M.

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available Tight oil formations (permeability < 1 mD in Western Canada have recently emerged as a reliable resource of light oil supply owing to the use of multifractured horizontal wells. The Cardium formation, which contains 25% of Alberta’s total discovered light oil (according to Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board, consists of conventional and unconventional (low-permeability or tight play areas. The conventional play areas have been developed since 1957. Contrarily, the development of unconventional play is a recent event, due to considerably poorer reservoir properties which increases the risk associated with capital investment. This in turn implies the need for a comprehensive and critical study of the area before planning any development strategy. This paper presents performance results from the low permeability portions of the Cardium formation where new horizontal wells have been drilled and stimulated in multiple stages to promote transverse hydraulic fractures. Development of the tight Cardium formation using primary recovery is considered. The production data of these wells was first matched using a black oil simulator. The calibrated model presented was used for performance perditions based on sensitivity studies and investigations that encompassed design factors such as well spacing, fracture properties and operational constraints.

  6. Oil sands operations as a large source of secondary organic aerosols

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liggio, John; Li, Shao-Meng; Hayden, Katherine; Taha, Youssef M.; Stroud, Craig; Darlington, Andrea; Drollette, Brian D.; Gordon, Mark; Lee, Patrick; Liu, Peter; Leithead, Amy; Moussa, Samar G.; Wang, Danny; O’Brien, Jason; Mittermeier, Richard L.; Brook, Jeffrey R.; Lu, Gang; Staebler, Ralf M.; Han, Yuemei; Tokarek, Travis W.; Osthoff, Hans D.; Makar, Paul A.; Zhang, Junhua; L. Plata, Desiree; Gentner, Drew R.

    2016-06-01

    Worldwide heavy oil and bitumen deposits amount to 9 trillion barrels of oil distributed in over 280 basins around the world, with Canada home to oil sands deposits of 1.7 trillion barrels. The global development of this resource and the increase in oil production from oil sands has caused environmental concerns over the presence of toxic compounds in nearby ecosystems and acid deposition. The contribution of oil sands exploration to secondary organic aerosol formation, an important component of atmospheric particulate matter that affects air quality and climate, remains poorly understood. Here we use data from airborne measurements over the Canadian oil sands, laboratory experiments and a box-model study to provide a quantitative assessment of the magnitude of secondary organic aerosol production from oil sands emissions. We find that the evaporation and atmospheric oxidation of low-volatility organic vapours from the mined oil sands material is directly responsible for the majority of the observed secondary organic aerosol mass. The resultant production rates of 45–84 tonnes per day make the oil sands one of the largest sources of anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols in North America. Heavy oil and bitumen account for over ten per cent of global oil production today, and this figure continues to grow. Our findings suggest that the production of the more viscous crude oils could be a large source of secondary organic aerosols in many production and refining regions worldwide, and that such production should be considered when assessing the environmental impacts of current and planned bitumen and heavy oil extraction projects globally.

  7. Potential research money available from the Acid Deposition Program and Alberta Environment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    It is exceedingly difficult to demonstrate definitive long-term changes in animal health as a result of acid-forming emissions from sour gas wells. A summary is presented of current research in Alberta, followed by the potential for research funding by the Alberta Government/Industry Acid Deposition Program (ADRP). The Alberta Environment research budget consists of four programs in addition to the ADRP: acid deposition effects research in the Athabasca oil sands; western and northern Canada long-range transport of air pollutants; departmental monitoring; and inhalation toxicology and animal health. Animal health research, although a component of the acid deposition issue, is beyond the mandate of Alberta Environment, and the ADRP members committee does not forsee becoming involved in the long-term and complex research required to address the effects of acid-forming emissions on livestock. Funds for additional animal health research must come from other government departments and agencies whose mandate covers this area

  8. Strategic marketing opportunities for Suncor OSG [Oil Sands Group

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Suncor's Oil Sands Group (OSG) is in a unique position to provide advantages to its customers, producing a light, sweet resid-free crude at a time when North American production of this valuable type of oil is in decline. While the per-barrel production cost of synthetic crude has been high historically, the OSG has recently committed to over US$300 million in capital investments which will reduce unit costs to conventional levels. Adding to this, the plant is located on a reserve that, even with existing technology, could feed the plant virtually indefinitely. Three aggressive strategic initiatives which will enhance the value of the products are being undertaken. The product slate diversification initiative involves significantly expanding the production slate to include premium products that are customized to meet customer needs. The product quality initiative will address product characteristics that are unattractive to some end users. The transportation initiative will ensure reliable and timely delivery of a wide variety of OSG products to an expanded customer base. 1 fig

  9. Estimating Erosion in Oil and Gas Pipe Line Due to Sand Presence

    OpenAIRE

    Abdulla, Akar

    2011-01-01

    Transporting solid particles in oil and gas flow cause erosion damage to the pipeline and fittings. The aim of this thesis is to study the effect of impact velocity on the erosion damage in 90 degree long elbow by using two different erosion models namely, Oka model and E/CRC model. Those correlation applied at air-borne sand eroding, methane-borne sand eroding, mixed gas-borne sand eroding, and multiphase (gas- oil) borne sand eroding Inconel 625. The commercial computational fluid dynamics ...

  10. Effects of oil sands related aquatic reclamation on yellow perch (Perca flavescens). 2. Chemical and biochemical indicators of exposure to oil sands related waters

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The impact that oil sands related waters may have on aquatic ecosystems and fish was examined. Regardless of the oil sands tailing reclamation method, the quality of surface waters will be affected by elevated salinity and organic acids as well as by increased concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The study determined that since surface waters will eventually impact on fish, it would be useful to have a suite of biochemical and chemical indicators of exposure to families of compounds associated with oil sands related waters. Two indicators, mixed-function oxygenase (MFO) activity and bile PAH equivalent concentration are frequently used to quantify exposure of fishes to petroleum hydrocarbons. Adult yellow perch were stocked into experimental ponds containing oil sands related waters. After 5 and 11 months, the usefulness of MFO enzymes, conjugation enzymes, bile PAH metabolite concentrations and plasma steroid hormones in yellow perch were examined. The potential of these biochemical and chemical endpoints as predictive indicators of physiological and population-level impacts was examined. It was shown that MFO activity and bile PAH equivalents were good indicators of exposure to oil sands related waters, but they were not predictive of physiological endpoints. This suggests that physiological endpoints were influenced by ecological and not chemical factors. 28 refs., 1 tab., 4 figs

  11. Kyoto, the oil sands and the GHG emissions market

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This paper reviews uncertainties in the oil sands industry in relation to climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and the Kyoto Protocol. Other issues contributing to uncertainties in the industry were also discussed, including water and natural gas issues, refinery capacity and markets, price and exchange rates as well as capital availability and project cost overruns. The potential economic impact of the Kyoto Protocol on oil sands was outlined with prices per barrel. Government regulations were examined in the context of the evolving expectations of the Canadian public. U.S. actions on climate change were examined at the federal and state level. Emissions trading systems were reviewed with reference to a post 2012 regime. The 2005 budget was discussed, along with the Canadian legislative agenda and domestic offsets program, as well as the regulatory agenda in June of 2005. Post 2012 issues were examined, including discussions on the next commitment period, with reference to the fact that there was no support for new commitments among developing countries but that domestic pressures was building in the U.S. for air and climate regulations. Pressures from shareholders and the scientific community were discussed. Emissions trading in the European Union was reviewed. Stabilization goals will mean significant cuts to emissions in order to accommodate growth. Scenario planning and climate change uncertainties were also reviewed. The benefits of scenario planning in complex situations were outlined and were seen to encourage the development of strategic options. Issues concerning environmental stewardship and possible responses by the Unites States were discussed. Three scenarios were outlined: that climate change is not man-made and all the problems will go away; that technology will evolve to accommodate changes; and that policy will be insensitive to the economy, technology will lag and the energy sector will be faced with much higher costs. Various risk management

  12. Alberta Reclamation Research annual report, 1990

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Reclamation Research Technical Advisory Committee (RRTAC) was appointed by the Alberta Land Conservation and Reclamation Council to assist in technical matters related to the development and administration of the Council's research program. RRTAC develops reclamation research under four major program areas, and activities in these areas during the year are described in this report. The Plains Coal Reclamation Research Program addresses questions relating to groundwater and soil reconstruction in plains coal mining zones. The Mountain and Foothills Reclamation Research Program focuses on water management, soil reconstruction, reforestation, and wildlife habitat development, with objectives including control of erosion on a variety of disturbances such as coal mines and ash pits. The Oil Sands Reclamation Research Program is attempting to develop techniques to establish self-sustaining, erosion-free cover on oil sand tailings pond dikes, and to return tailings sand storage and overburden dumps to productive forests. The Oil and Gas Reclamation Research Program is concerned with disposal of drilling wastes and reclamation of lands disturbed by oil and gas activities. Under each program, the objectives, basic problems investigated, and research approach are presented, followed by description of specific projects involving such subjects as hydrology, revegetation, soil-water interactions, landscape and watershed design, soil reconstruction and amendment, and soil compaction. A list of research reports is included. 69 refs., 8 figs

  13. Alberta Reclamation Research annual report, 1991

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Reclamation Research Technical Advisory Committee (RRTAC) was appointed by the Alberta Land Conservation and Reclamation Council to assist in technical matters related to the development and administration of the Council's research program. RRTAC develops reclamation research under four major program areas, and activities in these areas during the year are described in this report. The Plains Coal Reclamation Research Program addresses questions relating to groundwater and soil reconstruction in plains coal mining zones. The Mountain and Foothills Reclamation Research Program focuses on water management, soil reconstruction, reforestation, and wildlife habitat development, with objectives including control of erosion on a variety of disturbances such as coal mines and ash pits. The Oil Sands Reclamation Research Program is attempting to develop techniques to establish self-sustaining, erosion-free cover on oil sand tailings pond dikes, and to return tailings sand storage and overburden dumps to productive forests. The Oil and Gas Reclamation Research Program is concerned with disposal of drilling wastes and reclamation of lands disturbed by oil and gas activities. Under each program, the objectives, basic problems investigated, and research approach are presented, followed by description of specific projects involving such subjects as hydrology, revegetation, soil-water interactions, tailings dewatering, drilling waste landfarming, landscape and watershed design, soil reconstruction and amendment, and soil compaction. An annotated list of research reports is included. 76 refs., 7 figs

  14. Life cycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation of Canadian oil sands to future markets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oil sands transportation diversification is important for preventing discounted crude pricing. Current life cycle assessment (LCA) models that assess greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from crude oil transportation are linearly-scale and fail to account for project specific details. This research sets out to develop a detailed LCA model to compare the energy inputs and GHG emissions of pipeline and rail transportation for oil sands products. The model is applied to several proposed oils sands transportation routes that may serve as future markets. Comparison between transportation projects suggest that energy inputs and GHG emissions show a high degree of variation. For both rail and pipeline transportation, the distance over which the product is transported has a large impact on total emissions. The regional electricity grid and pump efficiency have the largest impact on pipeline emissions, while train engine efficiency and bitumen blending ratios have the largest impact on rail transportation emissions. LCA-based GHG regulations should refine models to account for the range of product pathways and focus efforts on cost-effective emission reductions. As the climate-change impacts of new oil sands transportation projects are considered, GHG emission boundaries should be defined according to operation control. -- Highlights: •A life cycle model is developed to compare transportation of oil sands products. •The model is applied to several potential future oil sands markets. •Energy inputs and GHG emissions are compared. •Model inputs are explored using sensitivity analysis. •Policy recommendations are provided

  15. Canada's oil sands, opportunities and challenges to 2015 : an energy market assessment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The National Energy Board monitors the supply of all energy commodities in Canada along with the demand for Canadian energy commodities in domestic and export markets. This report provides an assessment of the current state of the oil sands industry and the potential for growth. It also identifies the major issues and challenges associated with the development of Canada's oil sands, one of the world's largest hydrocarbon resources. Initial production of Canada's oil sands began in 1967. The resource has become more economic to develop in recent years due to higher energy prices and new technologies. The economic potential of Canada's oil sands has been recognized internationally. Canadian oil sands production in 2004 will surpass 160,000 cubic metres per day. By 2015, production is expected to more than double to meet market demands. The challenges facing the industry include higher natural gas prices, capital cost overruns and environmental impacts. The major factors that affect the rate of oil sands development include natural gas supply, energy demand, oil and gas pricing, markets and pipelines, environmental considerations, emerging technologies, geopolitical issues, and labour. This report includes key findings for the following four key components: economic potential and development of the resource base; markets and pipelines; environmental and socio-economic impacts; and, potential spin-off developments in the electricity and petrochemical industries. 26 tabs., 53 figs

  16. Fine particles removal from oil sand tailings by hydrocyclone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The objective of this study was to select and evaluate the role of hydrocyclones in removing most of the solids from oil sands tailings slurries and producing an underflow product that contains about 75 per cent solids. Multistage cyclones were evaluated by using slurry feeds with different percentage of solids and increasing ratios of superfines. A two-stage Linatex separator circuit was found to give high recovery to the underflow of 98.8 to 99.6 per cent by mass, with the desired high solids content in the underflow of 73 to 75 per cent by mass. Flexibility in handling feed with variable solids concentration was also found to be superior in the two-stage cyclone than in the single-stage model.Changes in feed solid content appeared to have little or no influence on cyclone underflow recovery and solid content. These highly favorable results were attributed to the apex control mechanism and operation at relatively low feed pressure when feed solids content was high. Increasing superfines above seven per cent by mass in the feed resulted in a significant reduction in the recovery to the underflow, probably due to excessive amount of clays in the cyclone. 2 refs., 6 tabs

  17. Co-gasification of oil sand coke with coal

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vejahati, Farshid; Gupta, Rajender [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Dept. of Chemical and Materials Engineering

    2013-07-01

    Gasification of oil sand delayed coke with sub-bituminous and lignite coals was performed in an atmospheric entrained flow gasifier using steam and oxygen as gasifying agents. The underlying objective of this work was to assess the effects of the operating variables (i.e. temperature, oxygen and steam concentrations) and coal/coke blending ratio on gasification performance in a high-temperature in order to find the possible synergies in co-gasification of the fuels. Experiments were conducted at 1,400 C, using steam and oxygen to carbon weight ratios of (0.36-1.08) and (0.07-0.2), respectively in N{sub 2} carrier gas. The coke to coal weight ratios of 1/3, 1/2, and 2/3 were used for the blending tests. Particle size of 53-90 {mu}m with d{sub 50} = 75 {mu}m were used. In terms of char reactivity, blending did not show any significant positive effect. Slight deviations from linear additive line are in the order of experiment error. Gasification efficiency was also following a linear additive trend once more pointing out the lack of synergy in entrained flow gasification systems. The results however, showed that higher coke content clearly favored the H{sub 2} production.

  18. Effect of biological gas generation on oil sand fine tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Guo, C.; Chalaturnyk, R.J.; Scott, J.D. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering; MacKinnon, M. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Edmonton Research Centre

    2004-07-01

    A field study was conducted to examine the effect of microbial activity on densification of mature fine tailings (MFT) found at the Mildred Lake Settling Basin (MLSB). The MLSB has accumulated 216,000 cubic meters of MFT since Syncrude Canada Limited started production in 1978. Since 1997, there has been a significant change in the consolidation behaviour of the MFT. Methane-producing microorganisms have become very active and large amounts of biogas have been produced. In some regions, gas bubbles are released to the water surface of the tailings pond. Field monitoring of the MLSB has shown evidence of rapid water drainage from the tailings. This phenomenon contradicts the consolidation models for MFT developed over the past 20 years. Although this rapid water draining (or densification) can cause pumping challenges, it can also accelerate the reclamation of the oil sands fine tailings. This study examined the mechanism leading to the rapid densification phenomenon. Systematic field studies were conducted to determine the distribution and characteristics of the rapidly densified MFT. Gas bubble distribution on the water surface was mapped to identify zones of different biological activities in the pond. Several small-scale column tests were carried out to observe the gas evolution and to measure the changes of some geotechnical parameters under different microbial activity. 4 refs., 6 tabs., 12 figs.

  19. Wildlife inventory of oil sand leases 12, 13 and 34

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Results of a preliminary study to assess wildlife abundance and distribution on Syncrude's proposed oil sand leases 12, 13 and 34 were presented. The objective of the study was to determine the relative abundance and habitat preferences of different wildlife species. Aerial and track count surveys were conducted in winter. The abundance of hooved animals was determined using an aerial survey of the entire Syncrude area which is composed of conifer-dominated lowlands. Results of the surveys showed that wildlife abundance in the study area was typical of the Fort McMurray region. Thirteen habitat types were identified, including 2 types of upland deciduous forest, mixed wood forest, 4 types of coniferous forest, 2 types of wetland community, 3 types of riparian community and cleared peatland. The distribution of mammals in the study area was presented. This included distribution of hooved animals, small herbivores, large carnivores, small carnivores, and other furbearers. The habitat utilization of each wildlife species was discussed. Several habitat types were preferred by at least one species. Very few species were associated with deciduous and mixed wood forest. It was noted that winter track counts may not be indicative of habitat preferences and distribution during other important periods such as breeding and natal seasons. 69 refs., 12 tabs., 13 figs

  20. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands. Quarterly report, July--September, 1993

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oblad, A.G.; Bunger, J.W.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1993-11-01

    This report cites task number followed by a brief statement of each task and the action taken this quarter. The tasks are: NEPA environmental information statement; coupled fluidized-bed bitumen recovery and coked sand combustion; water-based recovery of bitumen; rotary kiln process for recovery of bitumen and combustion of coke sand; recovery of bitumen from oil sands using fluidized bed reactors and combustion of spent sands in transport reactors; recovery of bitumen from oil sand and upgrading of bitumen by solvent extraction; catalytic and thermal upgrading of bitumens and bitumen-derived liquids; evaluation of Utah`s major oil sand deposits for the production of asphalt, high energy jet fuels, and other specialty products; development of mathematical models for bitumen recovery and processing; completion of the cost estimation study of the pilot plant restoration; development studies of equipment for three-product gravity separation of bitumen and sand; development studies of disposal of sand by conveying or pumping of high solids concentration sand-water slurries; and environmental studies of the North Salt Lake pilot plant rehabilitation and eventual operation and those environmental problems associated with eventual commercial products.

  1. The hydrogeologic connectivity of a low-flow saline-spring fen peatland within the Athabasca oil sands region, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wells, Corey M.; Price, Jonathan S.

    2015-12-01

    Saline springs can provide clues as to the nature of groundwater flow, including how it relates to subsurface wastewater storage and the distribution of solutes in the landscape. A saline-spring peatland neighboring a proposed in-situ oil facility was examined near Fort McMurray, Alberta (Canada). The study area is situated just north of a saline groundwater discharge zone, which coincides with the erosional edge of the Cretaceous Grand Rapids Formation. Na+ (mean 6,949 mg L-1) and Cl- (mean 13,776 mg L-1) were the dominant salts within the peatland, which increased by an order of magnitude in the opposite direction to that of the local groundwater flow. Rivers and freshwater wetlands within the study area had anomalously high salinities, in some cases exceeding 10,000 mg L-1 total dissolved solids within deeper sediments. Saline-spring features were observed as far as 5 km from the study area. A low-permeability mineral layer underlying the peatland restricted vertical groundwater exchange (estimated to be less than several mm over the 4-month study period). Sand and gravel lenses underlying the fen's high-salinity zone may function as areas of enhanced discharge. High Cl/Br ratios point to halite as a potential source of salinity, while δ18O and δ2H signatures in groundwater were lower than modern-day precipitation or Quaternary aquifers. The complex connectivity of saline-spring wetlands within the landscape has implications for industry and land-use managers, and justifies incorporating them into monitoring networks to better gauge the magnitude and flow history of natural saline discharge in the oil sands region.

  2. Analysis of Proppant Hydraulic Fracturing in a Sand Oil Reservoir in Southwest of Iran

    OpenAIRE

    Reza Masoomi; Iniko Bassey; Dolgow Sergie Viktorovich; Hosein Dehghani

    2015-01-01

    Hydraulic fracturing is one way to increase the productivity of oil and gas wells. One of the most fundamental successes of hydraulic fracturing operation is selecting the proper size and type of proppants which are used during the process. The aim of this study is optimizing the type and size of used propant in hydraulic fracturing operation in a sand oil reservoir in southwest of Iran. In this study sand and ceramic (sintered bauxite) have been considered as proppant type. Also the various ...

  3. Experimental Investigation on Dilation Mechanisms of Land-Facies Karamay Oil Sand Reservoirs under Water Injection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Botao; Jin, Yan; Pang, Huiwen; Cerato, Amy B.

    2016-04-01

    The success of steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) is strongly dependent on the formation of a homogeneous and highly permeable zone in the land-facies Karamay oil sand reservoirs. To accomplish this, hydraulic fracturing is applied through controlled water injection to a pair of horizontal wells to create a dilation zone between the dual wells. The mechanical response of the reservoirs during this injection process, however, has remained unclear for the land-facies oil sand that has a loosely packed structure. This research conducted triaxial, permeability and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) tests on the field-collected oil sand samples. The tests evaluated the influences of the field temperature, confining stress and injection pressure on the dilation mechanisms as shear dilation and tensile parting during injection. To account for petrophysical heterogeneity, five reservoir rocks including regular oil sand, mud-rich oil sand, bitumen-rich oil sand, mudstone and sandstone were investigated. It was found that the permeability evolution in the oil sand samples subjected to shear dilation closely followed the porosity and microcrack evolutions in the shear bands. In contrast, the mudstone and sandstone samples developed distinct shear planes, which formed preferred permeation paths. Tensile parting expanded the pore space and increased the permeability of all the samples in various degrees. Based on this analysis, it is concluded that the range of injection propagation in the pay zone determines the overall quality of hydraulic fracturing, while the injection pressure must be carefully controlled. A region in a reservoir has little dilation upon injection if it remains unsaturated. Moreover, a cooling of the injected water can strengthen the dilation potential of a reservoir. Finally, it is suggested that the numerical modeling of water injection in the Karamay oil sand reservoirs must take into account the volumetric plastic strain in hydrostatic loading.

  4. Microbially-accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. Pathway I: changes in porewater chemistry

    OpenAIRE

    TariqSiddique

    2014-01-01

    Dispersed clay particles in mine tailings and soft sediments remain suspended for decades, hindering consolidation and challenging effective management of these aqueous slurries. Current geotechnical engineering models of self-weight consolidation of tailings do not consider microbial contribution to sediment behavior, however, here we show that microorganisms indigenous to oil sands tailings change the porewater chemistry and accelerate consolidation of oil sands tailings. A companion paper ...

  5. As good as it gets : Alberta economic profile and forecast

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This economic profile and forecast report for the province of Alberta revealed that nearly every sector of the economy is operating at full, or near full capacity. Alberta's strong economy is a result of high energy prices, rapid population growth and rising employment. Increased provincial government spending along with tax reductions for businesses also contribute to a strong economy. However, the the province still faces some economic challenges, including a general labour shortage. Forestry and agriculture are under pressure of low commodity prices and high input costs, and the province has not articulated a long-term strategy for managing non-renewable natural resource revenue. In addition, the provincial economy is highly dependent upon volatile energy prices. Despite these challenges, the report states that the momentum is on the side of continued economic growth in Alberta. The Canada West Foundation is forecasting real growth in the gross domestic product of 5.2 per cent for 2006 and 4.7 per cent for 2007. The strong energy sector is largely responsible for much of Alberta's economic growth. An estimated 20,000 wells will be drilled in the province in 2006, and high oil prices will lead to record drilling and oil sands investment. This report also highlighted the economic activity in other sectors, including manufacturing, tourism, international exports, hi-tech, forestry, agriculture, and construction. Information regarding interprovincial migration and population growth was included along with public finances. 16 figs

  6. Exploratory Study of Oil Palm Shell as Partial Sand Replacement in Concrete

    OpenAIRE

    K. Muthusamy; N.A. Zulkepli; F. Mat Yahaya

    2013-01-01

    Malaysia being one of the world largest palm oil producers has been disposing oil palm shell, which is a by-product from palm oil mill thus causing negative impact to the environment. At the same time, extensive mining of natural river sand in large amount to meet the increasing demand of concrete production for the use in rapidly developing construction industry has posed the risk of natural aggregate depletion and ecological imbalance in future. The effect of finely Crushed Oil Palm Shell (...

  7. Dust is the dominant source of "heavy metals" to peat moss (Sphagnum fuscum) in the bogs of the Athabasca Bituminous Sands region of northern Alberta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shotyk, William; Bicalho, Beatriz; Cuss, Chad W; Duke, M John M; Noernberg, Tommy; Pelletier, Rick; Steinnes, Eiliv; Zaccone, Claudio

    2016-01-01

    Sphagnum fuscum was collected from twenty-five ombrotrophic (rain-fed) peat bogs surrounding open pit mines and upgrading facilities of Athabasca Bituminous Sands (ABS) in northern Alberta (AB) in order to assess the extent of atmospheric contamination by trace elements. As a control, this moss species was also collected at a bog near Utikuma (UTK) in an undeveloped part of AB and 264km SW of the ABS region. For comparison, this moss was also collected in central AB, in the vicinity of the City of Edmonton which is approximately 500km to the south of the ABS region, from the Wagner Wetland which is 22km W of the City, from Seba Beach (ca. 90km W) and from Elk Island National Park (ca. 45km E). All of the moss samples were digested and trace elements concentrations determined using ICP-SMS at a commercial laboratory, with selected samples also analyzed using instrumental neutron activation analysis at the University of Alberta. The mosses from the ABS region yielded lower concentrations of Ag, As, Bi, Cd, Cu, Pb, Sb, Tl, and Zn compared to the moss from the Edmonton area. Concentrations of Ni and Mo in the mosses were comparable in these two regions, but V was more abundant in the ABS samples. Compared with the surface vegetation of eight peat cores collected in recent years from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, the mean concentrations of Ag, As, Bi, Cd, Cu, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Tl and Zn in the mosses from the ABS region are generally much lower. In fact, the concentrations of these trace elements in the samples from the ABS region are comparable to the corresponding values in forest moss from remote regions of central and northern Norway. Lithophile element concentrations (Ba, Be, Ga, Ge, Li, Sc, Th, Ti, Zr) explain most of the variation in trace metal concentrations in the moss samples. The mean concentrations of Th and Zr are greatest in the moss samples from the ABS region, reflecting dust inputs to the bogs from open pit mines, aggregate

  8. Biodegradation of MC252 oil in oil:sand aggregates in a coastal headland beach environment

    OpenAIRE

    JohnHPardue

    2014-01-01

    Biodegradation potential of MC252 in oil:sand aggregates, termed surface residue balls (SRBs), was examined using multiple lines of evidence on a heavily-impacted coastal headland beach in Louisiana, USA. SRBs were sampled over a 16-month period on the supratidal beach environment where reasonable control existed on the residence time of the aggregates on the beach surface. PAH and alkane concentration ratios were measured including PAH/C30-hopane, C2/C3 phenanthrenes, C2/C3 dibenzothiophenes...

  9. Mycorrhizal inoculum potentials of pure reclamation materials and revegetated tailing sands from the Canadian oil sand industry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bois, G; Piché, Y; Fung, M Y P; Khasa, D P

    2005-05-01

    Recent improvements in the management of oil sand tailings used by the Canadian oil sand industry have resulted in the production of composite tailing sands (CT): a new challenging material for reclamation work. Jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.), hybrid poplar (Populus deltoides Bartr. ex Marsh. xPopulus nigra L.) and red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) plants were used in an 8-week greenhouse bioassay to evaluate the mycorrhizal inoculum potential of CT. This inoculum potential was compared with that of three other reclamation materials [common tailing sands (TS), deep overburden (OB) and muskeg peat (MK)], and with three sites reclaimed in 1982 (R82), 1988 (R88) and 1999 (R99). CT was devoid of active mycorrhizal propagules while all other materials showed some level of inoculum potential. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi were observed on roots of clover or poplar grown in TS, OB, and all substrates containing peat (MK, R82, R88 and R99). Pine roots were also colonized by vesicle-forming hyphae of an unidentified fine endophyte and by dark septate fungi. Ectomycorrhizas (ECM) were observed on pine and poplar grown in OB, MK, and in soils from the two older reclaimed sites (R82 and R88). Using morpho- and molecular typing, six ECM fungi were identified to the genus or species level: Laccaria sp., Thelephora americana, Wilcoxina sp. (E-strain), Tuber sp. (I-type), a Sebacinoid, and a Pezizales species. Laccaria sp. and Wilcoxina sp. were the most frequently observed ECM species. PMID:15883852

  10. Coarse Woody Debris Increases Microbial Community Functional Diversity but not Enzyme Activities in Reclaimed Oil Sands Soils.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jin-Hyeob Kwak

    Full Text Available Forest floor mineral soil mix (FMM and peat mineral soil mix (PMM are cover soils commonly used for upland reclamation post open-pit oil sands mining in northern Alberta, Canada. Coarse woody debris (CWD can be used to regulate soil temperature and water content, to increase organic matter content, and to create microsites for the establishment of microorganisms and vegetation in upland reclamation. We studied the effects of CWD on soil microbial community level physiological profile (CLPP and soil enzyme activities in FMM and PMM in a reclaimed landscape in the oil sands. This experiment was conducted with a 2 (FMM vs PMM × 2 (near CWD vs away from CWD factorial design with 6 replications. The study plots were established with Populus tremuloides (trembling aspen CWD placed on each plot between November 2007 and February 2008. Soil samples were collected within 5 cm from CWD and more than 100 cm away from CWD in July, August and September 2013 and 2014. Microbial biomass was greater (p<0.05 in FMM than in PMM, in July, and August 2013 and July 2014, and greater (p<0.05 near CWD than away from CWD in FMM in July and August samplings. Soil microbial CLPP differed between FMM and PMM (p<0.01 according to a principal component analysis and CWD changed microbial CLPP in FMM (p<0.05 but not in PMM. Coarse woody debris increased microbial community functional diversity (average well color development in Biolog Ecoplates in both cover soils (p<0.05 in August and September 2014. Carbon degrading soil enzyme activities were greater in FMM than in PMM (p<0.05 regardless of distance from CWD but were not affected by CWD. Greater microbial biomass and enzyme activities in FMM than in PMM will increase organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling, improving plant growth. Enhanced microbial community functional diversity by CWD application in upland reclamation has implications for accelerating upland reclamation after oil sands mining.

  11. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands. Annual report, July 1991--July 1992

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oblad, A.G.; Bunger, J.W.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1992-08-01

    The University of Utah tar sand research and development program is concerned with research and development on Utah is extensive oil sands deposits. The program has been intended to develop a scientific and technological base required for eventual commercial recovery of the heavy oils from oil sands and processing these oils to produce synthetic crude oil and other products such as asphalt. The overall program is based on mining the oil sand, processing the mined sand to recover the heavy oils and upgrading them to products. Multiple deposits are being investigated since it is believed that a large scale (approximately 20,000 bbl/day) plant would require the use of resources from more than one deposit. The tasks or projects in the program are organized according to the following classification: Recovery technologies which includes thermal recovery methods, water extraction methods, and solvent extraction methods; upgrading and processing technologies which covers hydrotreating, hydrocracking, and hydropyrolysis; solvent extraction; production of specialty products; and environmental aspects of the production and processing technologies. These tasks are covered in this report.

  12. Methods to reduce production of oil sands mature fine tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ozum, B. [Apex Engineering Inc., Edmonton, AB (Canada); Scott, J.D. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    This paper discussed experimental findings regarding the use of alternative extraction additives in the Clark Hot Water Bitumen Extraction (CHWBE) process to improve the geotechnical characteristics of the tailings and the salinity of the recycled release water. It also discussed results regarding the production of non-segregating tailings (NST) from the blend of cyclone underflow and thickener underflow using either calcium oxide (CaO) or CaO and carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}) as additives. Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is currently used in CHWBE to increase extraction efficiency, but this additive also creates tailings with poor settling and consolidation properties and high salinity in the recycled release water. The use of CaO for adjusting pH, ozone (O{sub 3}) for producing surfactants from bitumen asphaltenes, and biodiesel as surfactant additives were found to increase the efficiency of the extraction process, produce tailings with friendlier geotechnical properties, and eliminate saline concentrations in the recycled release water. The use of the described alternative extraction additives and the NST production processes has the potential to reduce the environmental impacts of oil sands plants, potentially providing a solution to the problems associated with Low Temperature Extraction and Consolidated Tailings processes. The solubility of CaO and O{sub 3} as a function of temperature could potentially allow the extraction temperature to be reduced. O{sub 3} was found to work better as an oxidant to produce surfactants from bitumen when the ore-slurry is first treated with CaO. Study on a larger scale is required. 23 refs., 7 tabs., 7 figs.

  13. Policy Analysis of Water Availability and Use Issues for Domestic Oil Shale and Oil Sands Development

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ruple, John; Keiter, Robert

    2010-12-31

    Oil shale and oil sands resources located within the intermountain west represent a vast, and as of yet, commercially untapped source of energy. Development will require water, and demand for scarce water resources stands at the front of a long list of barriers to commercialization. Water requirements and the consequences of commercial development will depend on the number, size, and location of facilities, as well as the technologies employed to develop these unconventional fuels. While the details remain unclear, the implication is not – unconventional fuel development will increase demand for water in an arid region where demand for water often exceeds supply. Water demands in excess of supplies have long been the norm in the west, and for more than a century water has been apportioned on a first-come, first-served basis. Unconventional fuel developers who have not already secured water rights stand at the back of a long line and will need to obtain water from willing water purveyors. However, uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of some senior water claims combine with indeterminate interstate river management to cast a cloud over water resource allocation and management. Quantitative and qualitative water requirements associated with Endangered Species protection also stand as barriers to significant water development, and complex water quality regulations will apply to unconventional fuel development. Legal and political decisions can give shape to an indeterminate landscape. Settlement of Northern Ute reserved rights claims would help clarify the worth of existing water rights and viability of alternative sources of supply. Interstate apportionment of the White River would go a long way towards resolving water availability in downstream Utah. And energy policy clarification will help determine the role oil shale and oil sands will play in our nation’s future.

  14. Semipermeable membrane devices concentrate mixed function oxygenase inducers from oil sands and refinery wastewaters

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The health of fish in the Athabasca River was examined to determine the effects of both natural and anthropogenic oil sands exposure on liver mixed function oxygenase (MFO) enzymes. Semipermeable membrane devices (SPMD) were used to concentrate bioavailable compounds that may result in MFO induction. The SPMDs were used for a period of 2 weeks in the Steepbank River as well as in oil refinery wastewater and intake ponds. They were then tested to see if they induced ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activity in hepatoma cells, a cell line derived from a liver cancer of a small fish. SPMDs from the wastewater pond contained potent EROD inducers in fish liver cells. SPMDs from the Athabasca River exhibited some EROD inducers, but they were 1/100 as potent as those of the refinery wastewater. The characteristics of MFO inducers from refinery wastewater were different from natural inducers from the oil sands in the Athabasca and Steepbank Rivers. For instance, log Kow was less than 5 for refinery wastewater, but it was greater than 5 for Athabasca River wastewater and from natural oil sands exposure. In the case of the Steepbank River, the pattern of MFO induction was similar to the MFO induction seen in wild fish.The highest MFO inducers were found to be in the area of the mine, suggesting and anthropogenic pollution source. The less potent inducers were in the area of the natural and undisturbed oil sands. Very few inducers were found outside of the oil sands formation

  15. The Relationship Between Seismicity and the Oil and Gas Industry in Western Alberta and Eastern B.C.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atkinson, G. M.; Eaton, D. W. S.; Ghofrani, H.; Walker, D.; Cheadle, B.; Schultz, R.; Shcherbakov, R.; Tiampo, K. F.; Gu, Y. J.; Harrington, R. M.; Liu, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Significantly increased production of hydrocarbons in North America is being driven by the development of unconventional resources whose commercial viability, in many cases, depends upon massive subsurface injection of fluids. Although relatively uncommon, elevated pore pressure from fluid injection of any kind can induce earthquake activity by activating slip on a proximal fault. In the western Canada sedimentary basin (which follows the Rocky Mountain foothills region and straddles the border between Alberta and B.C.), we find that hydraulic fracture treatment, wherein fluids are injected under high pressure in long laterally-drilled wells in order to induce localized fracturing of a rock formation, is the primary triggering mechanism of induced seismicity. This contrasts with the central U.S., where most induced seismicity has been attributed to large-scale wastewater injection into deep disposal wells. Our findings are based on a comprehensive statistical analysis of seismicity at the M≥3 level since 1985, along with a complete well database for the region, containing information on many thousands of oil and gas wells. Since 2010, most of the regional earthquakes of M≥3 are correlated in both time and space with hydraulic fracturing. Monte Carlo simulations confirm that the observed correlations are extremely unlikely (<<1%) to have been obtained by chance. Improved understanding of regional variability in fault activation processes, accounting for operational and geological factors, will aid in the development and validation of predictive models for the time-dependent hazards from induced earthquakes.

  16. Assessment of Research Needs for Oil Recovery from Heavy-Oil Sources and Tar Sands (FERWG-IIIA)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Penner, S.S.

    1982-03-01

    The Fossil Energy Research Working Group (FERWG), at the request of J.W. Mares (Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy) and A.W. Trivelpiece (Director, Office of Energy Research), has reviewed and evaluated the U.S. programs on oil recovery from heavy oil sources and tar sands. These studies were performed in order to provide an independent assessment of research areas that affect the prospects for oil recovery from these sources. This report summarizes the findings and research recommendations of FERWG.

  17. Study of greenhouse gases reduction alternatives for the exploitation of non conventional oil sands in Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bouchonneau, Deborah [Institut Francais du Petrole (IFP), Paris (France)

    2008-07-01

    High energy prices and greenhouse gases reduction represent the main challenges the current worldwide energetic situation has to face. As a consequence, paradox strategies can be highlighted: oil prices are sufficiently high to exploit non conventional oil resources, like extra heavy oils and oil sands. But the production of these resources emits larger GHG than the conventional oil path and implies other major environmental issues (water management, risks of soil pollution, destruction of the boreal forest), incompatible with the rules validated by the protocol of Kyoto. At the light of the new greenhouse gases reduction regulation framework announced by the Canadian Federal government, this work focuses on the study of greenhouse gases reduction alternatives applied to the non conventional oil sands exploitation in Canada. (author)

  18. Revegetation of oil sands tailings. Growth improvement of silver-berry and buffalo-berry by inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi and N/sub 2/-fixing bacteria

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Visser, S.; Danielson, R.M.

    1988-01-01

    The ability of actinorhizal shrubs to tolerate inhospitable conditions while improving soil fertility and organic matter status has led to increased usage of these plants for land reclamation and amenity planting purposes. Silver-berry and buffalo-berry are two such shrubs being tested as potential candidates for the revegetation of the oil sands tailings in northeastern Alberta. Associated with the roots of silver-berry and buffalo-berry are two symbiants, the N/sub 2/-fixing actimomycete Frankia and the vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungi. Numerous studies have demonstrated that, particularly in nutrient-limited conditions, mycorrhization and nodulation can result in significantly better plant performance as a consequence of improved N and P nutrition. It was found in this study that in Alberta, silver-berry and buffalo-berry are strictly VA mycorrhizal; that they are highly dependent on their symbiants for optimum growth; and that the VAM inoculum potential of both stockpiled and undisturbed muskeg peak is negligible, due to the absence of VAM hosts. Means to increase the inoculum potential of peat have been studied. The efficacy of inoculating seedlings grown in greenhouses with VAM and Frankia has been demonstrated. Overwinter mortality was higher for inoculated shrubs, but after one growing season, shoot-weights of silver-berry were 3 to 7 times greater than for uninoculated shrubs, and shoot weights of buffalo-berry were 3 to 5 times greater. 122 refs., 12 figs., 31 tabs.

  19. Clean energy and hydrogen for oil sands development with CANDU SCWR nuclear reactors and Cu-Cl cycles

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    In this paper, the unique capabilities and advantages of SCWR technology for cleaner oil sands development are discussed from two perspectives: lower temperature steam generation by supercritical water for steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), and hydrogen production for oil sands upgrading by coupling SCWR with the thermochemical copper-chlorine (Cu-Cl) cycle. The heat requirements for bitumen extraction from the oil sands and the hydrogen requirements for bitumen upgrading are evaluated. A conceptual layout of SCWR coupled with oil sands development is presented. The reduction of CO2 emissions due to the use of SCWR and thermo chemical hydrogen production cycle is also analyzed. (author)

  20. AOSTRA Strategic Research Program: new sucker rod pump design for sand-producing wells

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sudol, T.; Ridley, R.; Nguyen, D. [Alberta Research Council, Devon, AB (Canada)

    1996-12-31

    Sand accumulation in production fluids is a common problem associated with thermal well pumping in unconsolidated reservoirs. Since sand accumulation could result in lost pump efficiency, and ultimately in the seizure of the plunger in the pump barrel, oil production in Alberta includes measures that are designed to limit the quantity of the sand entering the wellbore. In this context, a new helical valve design was tested and compared to a standard valve using a water-sand mixture and flow rates representing sand production situations. Results of the tests, and recommendations for future work, were presented. 5 refs., 4 tabs., 12 figs.

  1. 3D Finite Element Analysis of PWA-Oil Sand Terrain System Interaction

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Y. Li

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available A simulator for analyzing the interaction between the oil sand terrain and a pipe wagon articulating (PWA system has been developed in this paper. An elastic-plastic oil sand model was built based on the finite element analysis (FEA method and von Mises yield criterion using the Algor mechanical event simulation (MES software. The three-dimensional (3D distribution of the stress, strain, nodal displacement, and deformed shape of the oil sands was animated at an environmental temperature of 25°C. The 3D behavior of the oil sand terrain was investigated with different loading conditions. The effect of the load and contact area on the stress and nodal displacement was analyzed, respectively. The results indicate that both the max stress and max nodal displacement increase with the load varying from 0 to 3.6+7 N and decrease with the contact area varying from 2 to 10 m2. The method presented in this paper forms the basis for evaluating the bearing capacity of oil sand ground.

  2. Comparison of CO{sub 2} fixation in spent oil sand between experiment and simulation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Han, Dure; Jang, Dongha; Jeon, Yeongshin; Kim, Hyungtaek [Ajou Univ., Yeongtong-gu (Korea, Republic of). Div. of Energy Systems Research

    2013-07-01

    Global Warming caused by the Greenhouse gas has become a serious global issue due to the increasing in the use of fossil fuel and it is being exhausted. Recently, a great deal of research is being carried out to develop alternatives to fossil fuels. The oil sands have become one of the alternative energy sources. However, it is composed of about 10% bitumen and the rest becomes waste. Moreover, oil sands need a large amount of natural gas to provide heat and steam for bitumen extraction. In this study, it has been focused on the satisfaction both CO{sub 2} reduction and waste disposal by using spent oil sand after extraction bitumen from oil sand. Additionally, Aspen Plus was used to simulate to know about its carbonation reactivity. First, we analyzed the analysis of spent oil sand and discovered that it is of mostly composed of SiO{sub 2}, so it needs pretreatment with CaO aqueous solution. After the pretreatment, it is performed by changes in temperature and pressure. The optimum is decided 500 C, 25 atm and reduced rate of mass was calculated 21.92% about carbonation reactivity by using simulation.

  3. Tjärsandsindustrins miljöpåverkan : Alberta, Kanada

    OpenAIRE

    Kjelleros, Fredrik

    2015-01-01

    In Alberta, Canada, amongst its mixture of sand, clay, water and other minerals, the tar sand’s heavy and viscous component bitumen, a thick, sticky form of crude oil is extracted through two methods; open-pit mining for shallower deposits (<75 m), and in situ for deeper deposits (>75 m). This degree project consists of a comparison between these two extraction methods impact on air, nature and water, which all have been evaluated by reviewing and analyzing literature. Studies showed th...

  4. Thin film pyrolysis of oil sands asphaltenes for structural analysis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Karimi, Arash; Gray, Murray R [Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Alberta (Canada); Qian, Kuangnan; Olmstead, William N.; Freund, Howard [ExxonMobil Research and Engineering (United States)], email: murray.gray@ualberta.ca

    2010-07-01

    Current methods to extract asphaltene building blocks only produce small sample quantities per batch for analysis. To reach sample quantities sufficient for several analytical methods on each batch, the following method was investigated in a preliminary study. Asphaltenes from Alberta bitumen were spray coated as thin films on alloy plates to be used in controlled pyrolysis. Each batch of six plates reacted around 1 g of asphaltenes in the furnace. Reaction products were purged from the reaction chamber with cold nitrogen, then cooled in a cold trap. Gases were collected and analysed using gas chromatography. Liquid products were condensed in a cold trap, rinsed with solvent, and evaporated overnight. The coke was also recovered from the plates and analysed. The method yielded mass balances greater than 90%. Products analysis revealed molecular fragment sizes ranging from C10 to C100. Lighter components (C5-C10) were not detected, having probably evaporated during solvent removal.

  5. BIOTIGER, A NATURAL MICROBIAL PRODUCT FOR ENHANCED HYDROCARBON RECOVERY FROM OIL SANDS.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brigmon, R; Topher Berry, T; Whitney Jones, W; Charles Milliken, C

    2008-05-27

    BioTiger{trademark} is a unique microbial consortia that resulted from over 8 years of extensive microbiology screening and characterization of samples collected from a century-old Polish waste lagoon. BioTiger{trademark} shows rapid and complete degradation of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, produces novel surfactants, is tolerant of both chemical and metal toxicity and shows good activity at temperature and pH extremes. Although originally developed and used by the U.S. Department of Energy for bioremediation of oil-contaminated soils, recent efforts have proven that BioTiger{trademark} can also be used to increase hydrocarbon recovery from oil sands. This enhanced ex situ oil recovery process utilizes BioTiger{trademark} to optimize bitumen separation. A floatation test protocol with oil sands from Ft. McMurray, Canada was used for the BioTiger{trademark} evaluation. A comparison of hot water extraction/floatation test of the oil sands performed with BioTiger{trademark} demonstrated a 50% improvement in separation as measured by gravimetric analysis in 4 h and a five-fold increase at 25 hr. Since BioTiger{trademark} performs well at high temperatures and process engineering can enhance and sustain metabolic activity, it can be applied to enhance recovery of hydrocarbons from oil sands or other complex recalcitrant matrices.

  6. In situ recovery of oil from Utah tar sand: a summary of tar sand research at the Laramie Energy Technology Center

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Marchant, L.C.; Westhoff, J.D.

    1985-10-01

    This report describes work done by the United States Department of Energy's Laramie Energy Technology Center from 1971 through 1982 to develop technology for future recovery of oil from US tar sands. Work was concentrated on major US tar sand deposits that are found in Utah. Major objectives of the program were as follows: determine the feasibility of in situ recovery methods applied to tar sand deposits; and establish a system for classifying tar sand deposits relative to those characteristics that would affect the design and operation of various in situ recovery processes. Contents of this report include: (1) characterization of Utah tar sand; (2) laboratory extraction studies relative to Utah tar sand in situ methods; (3) geological site evaluation; (4) environmental assessments and water availability; (5) reverse combustion field experiment, TS-1C; (6) a reverse combustion followed by forward combustion field experiment, TS-2C; (7) tar sand permeability enhancement studies; (8) two-well steam injection experiment; (9) in situ steam-flood experiment, TS-1S; (10) design of a tar sand field experiment for air-stream co-injection, TS-4; (11) wastewater treatment and oil analyses; (12) economic evaluation of an in situ tar sand recovery process; and (13) appendix I (extraction studies involving Utah tar sands, surface methods). 70 figs., 68 tabs.

  7. Applications in the oil sands industry for Particlear{sup R} silica microgel

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Moffett, B. [DuPont Chemical Solutions Enterprise, Wilmington, DE (United States)

    2009-07-01

    This presentation demonstrated the use of Particlear{sup R} silica microgel in the oil sands industry. The silica-based coagulant is an amorphous silicon dioxide microgel solution. The surface area of a football field can be obtained using 2.7 grams of the substance. The coagulation mechanism is achieved by charge neutralization and inter-particle bridging. The microgel is manufactured at the point of use from commodity chemicals, water, and carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}). Applications for the microgel include potable water treatment, paper retention, and animal processing wastewater. In the oil sands industry, Particlear{sup R} can be used in tailings flocculation, thickened tailings drying, steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) water treatment, and enhanced bitumen recovery. It was concluded that the microgel can be used in many oil sands processing and liquid-solid separation processes in order to remove dissolved solids and organics and increase the rate of solids dewatering. tabs., figs.

  8. Effect of bioremediation agents on oil biodegradation in medium-fine sand

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A spill of weathered Arabian light crude oil on an intertidal sand zone was simulated in the laboratory. Respirometry, chemical, and microbiological methods were employed to assess the effectiveness of two bioremediation agents: a slow-release inorganic (Max Bac) and an oleophilic organic fertilizer (Inipol EAP22). Inipol EAP22 stimulated additional CO2 evolution, and significantly increased both the total chemoheterotrophic population and the number of hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms. At the end of the experiment, the residual oil extracted from the Inipol-treated sand was significantly more biodegraded, based on the application of the conserved biomarkers (phytane and 17α, 21β hopane), than that removed from the other sand columns, albeit by a relatively small amount. The results suggested that Inipol EAP22 stimulated the chemoheterotrophic and hydrocarbon-degrading microbial population and, after a lag phase, encouraged oil biodegradation in fine sandy sediments subjected to a vertical tidal cycle

  9. Integrated sulphur management : gas, oil sands, reclamation and the challenges of fluctuating demand

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    International Commodities Export Corporation is a privately held company that provides fully integrated service offerings to add maximum value in designing, building, owning, and operating sulphur assets. The company also offers in-house, engineering, procurement and project management, as well as supply management, transportation and distribution services. It also has expertise in marine transportation. This presentation discussed integrated sulphur management, with particular focus on gas, oil sands, reclamation and the challenges of fluctuating demand. The presentation provided an overview of the sulphur market and oil sands sulphur. Key considerations for oil sands producers were also presented. The challenges of fluctuating demand include price and volume considerations; logistics; geography and distance to market; export/offshore versus domestic/United States; seasonal considerations; and an inelastic sulphur market. The presentation concluded with a status update of ICEC's initiative and the advantages of Prince Rupert, an economically viable export infrastructure to producers without onsite forming facilities. figs

  10. Paleontological overview of oil shale and tar sands areas in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Murphey, P. C.; Daitch, D.; Environmental Science Division

    2009-02-11

    In August 2005, the U.S. Congress enacted the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Public Law 109-58. In Section 369 of this Act, also known as the ''Oil Shale, Tar Sands, and Other Strategic Unconventional Fuels Act of 2005,'' Congress declared that oil shale and tar sands (and other unconventional fuels) are strategically important domestic energy resources that should be developed to reduce the nation's growing dependence on oil from politically and economically unstable foreign sources. In addition, Congress declared that both research- and commercial-scale development of oil shale and tar sands should (1) be conducted in an environmentally sound manner using management practices that will minimize potential impacts, (2) occur with an emphasis on sustainability, and (3) benefit the United States while taking into account concerns of the affected states and communities. To support this declaration of policy, Congress directed the Secretary of the Interior to undertake a series of steps, several of which are directly related to the development of a commercial leasing program for oil shale and tar sands. One of these steps was the completion of a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) to analyze the impacts of a commercial leasing program for oil shale and tar sands resources on public lands, with an emphasis on the most geologically prospective lands in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. For oil shale, the scope of the PEIS analysis includes public lands within the Green River, Washakie, Uinta, and Piceance Creek Basins. For tar sands, the scope includes Special Tar Sand Areas (STSAs) located in Utah. This paleontological resources overview report was prepared in support of the Oil Shale and Tar Sands Resource Management Plan Amendments to Address Land Use Allocations in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming and PEIS, and it is intended to be used by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regional paleontologists and field office staff to support future

  11. Mass spectrometry of oil sands naphthenic acids : degradation in OSPW and wetland plants

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Headley, J. [Environment Canada, Saskatoon, SK (Canada). Water Science and Technology Directorate

    2009-07-01

    This presentation discussed mass spectrometry of oil sands naphthenic acids and the degradation in OSPW and wetland plants. It presented background information on the Athabasca oil sands and naphthenic acids which involve a mixture of alkanes and cycloalkane carboxylic acids with aliphatic side chains. The presentation also discussed mass spectrometry with electrospray operating in negative ion modes. Loop injection, external standard methods and solid phase extraction were reviewed along with improved analysis by removing background ions. Other topics that were presented included hydroponic test systems and wetland plant toxicity, growth and transpiration. It was concluded that dissipation included species containing oxygen, ozone, O{sub 4}, and O{sub 5}. tabs., figs.

  12. Reclamation of oil and gas well sites on privately-owned land in Alberta: An evaluation of benefits and costs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    In Alberta, ca 24,000 oil/gas well sites will be abandoned over the next 10 years. There is concern that the expense to reclaim the surface lands at these sites to current standards represents a substantial opportunity cost to industry and the provincial economy. The economic costs and benefits associated with regulation of such reclamation activity are examined and the impacts of surface access regulations on the reclamation process are discussed. Cost benefit analysis is not easily applied to environmental regulation where some extra-market benefits and costs are intangible and/or unmeasurable. Although this qualifies the results, it appears that the costs of wellsite reclamation exceed the benefits. Costs are defined as reclamation expenses; benefits are defined as the real estate value of the land, or the net present value of agricultural land rentals. An effort has been made to provide a proxy for the extra-market value of the land to the landowner. The continuation of full surface access compensation for nonproducing wells can result in negative incentive effects that reduce allocative efficiency of reclamation regulation. Reclamation costs are correlated with well age and surface access payments, but not with agricultural land use or geographic region. This suggests that reclamation standards designed to reclaim well sites to the same productive capacity as site-adjacent land is not driving reclamation effort. Rather, landowners have negotiated substantial annual surface lease payments and may also be demanding greater reclamation effort, either to maximize compensation due to higher expectations. Methods of reducing these negative incentive effects to better achieve reclamation goals are suggested. 49 refs., 9 figs., 17 tabs

  13. Adsorption of surfactants on sand surface in enhanced oil recovery: Isotherms, kinetics and thermodynamic studies

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bera, Achinta; Kumar, T.; Ojha, Keka; Mandal, Ajay, E-mail: mandal_ajay@hotmail.com

    2013-11-01

    Adsorption of surfactants onto reservoir rock surface may result in the loss and reduction of their concentrations in surfactant flooding, which may render them less efficient or ineffective in practical applications of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques. Surfactant flooding for EOR received attraction due to its ability to increase the displacement efficiency by lowering the interfacial tension between oil and water and mobilizing the residual oil. This article highlights the adsorption of surfactants onto sand surface with variation of different influencing factors. It has been experimentally found that adsorption of cationic surfactant on sand surface is more and less for anionic surfactant, while non-ionic surfactant shows intermediate behaviour. X-ray diffraction (XRD) study of clean sand particles has been made to determine the main component present in the sand particles. The interaction between sand particles and surfactant has been studied by Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy of the sand particles before and after aging with surfactant. Salinity plays an important role in adsorption of anionic surfactant. Batch experiments were also performed to understand the effects of pH and adsorbent dose on the sorption efficiency. The sand particles exhibited high adsorption efficiency at low pH for anionic and nonionic surfactants. But opposite trend was found for cationic surfactant. Adsorption data were analyzed by fitting with Langmuir, Freundlich, Redlich-Peterson, and Sips isotherm models. Results show that the Langmuir isotherm and pseudo-second order kinetics models suit the equilibrium and kinetics of adsorption on sand surface. Thermodynamics feasibility of the adsorption process was also studied to verify the spontaneity of the process.

  14. Adsorption of surfactants on sand surface in enhanced oil recovery: Isotherms, kinetics and thermodynamic studies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Adsorption of surfactants onto reservoir rock surface may result in the loss and reduction of their concentrations in surfactant flooding, which may render them less efficient or ineffective in practical applications of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques. Surfactant flooding for EOR received attraction due to its ability to increase the displacement efficiency by lowering the interfacial tension between oil and water and mobilizing the residual oil. This article highlights the adsorption of surfactants onto sand surface with variation of different influencing factors. It has been experimentally found that adsorption of cationic surfactant on sand surface is more and less for anionic surfactant, while non-ionic surfactant shows intermediate behaviour. X-ray diffraction (XRD) study of clean sand particles has been made to determine the main component present in the sand particles. The interaction between sand particles and surfactant has been studied by Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy of the sand particles before and after aging with surfactant. Salinity plays an important role in adsorption of anionic surfactant. Batch experiments were also performed to understand the effects of pH and adsorbent dose on the sorption efficiency. The sand particles exhibited high adsorption efficiency at low pH for anionic and nonionic surfactants. But opposite trend was found for cationic surfactant. Adsorption data were analyzed by fitting with Langmuir, Freundlich, Redlich-Peterson, and Sips isotherm models. Results show that the Langmuir isotherm and pseudo-second order kinetics models suit the equilibrium and kinetics of adsorption on sand surface. Thermodynamics feasibility of the adsorption process was also studied to verify the spontaneity of the process.

  15. Visualization of sand structures surrounding a horizontal well slot during cold production

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Meza, B.I. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada); Tremblay, B. [Alberta Research Council, Edmonton, AB (Canada); Doan, Q. [Computer Modelling Group, Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2002-07-01

    Cold-water processes are used by oil producers in Alberta and Saskatchewan to recover oil from vertical wells, but large volumes of sand are produced along with the oil. Cold production has not been as successful for horizontal wells because of the high costs associated with sand clean out. Sand production can be controlled using a well completion technique called sand arching, in which a curved structure spans an opening to support a load by resolving external stresses into tangential and radial stresses. In order to optimize production, it is necessary to fully understand the flow of sand and oil into slotted horizontal well liners for both thermal and non-thermal oil production. A study was conducted to examine the structures that form in and around a slot when sand production stops. It was shown that sand production through slots can be controlled. Sand grain sorting plays a bigger role in production than the morphology of the grains or their diameters. A sufficient amount of sand is produced to enhance the porosity and permeability around the slots before sand production in stopped. Slot plugging by the higher fractions of a given sand could decrease sand production, so the occurrence of large grains of sand should be taken into consideration when selecting the slots. 22 refs., 6 tabs., 25 figs.

  16. Exploratory Study of Oil Palm Shell as Partial Sand Replacement in Concrete

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. Muthusamy

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Malaysia being one of the world largest palm oil producers has been disposing oil palm shell, which is a by-product from palm oil mill thus causing negative impact to the environment. At the same time, extensive mining of natural river sand in large amount to meet the increasing demand of concrete production for the use in rapidly developing construction industry has posed the risk of natural aggregate depletion and ecological imbalance in future. The effect of finely Crushed Oil Palm Shell (COPS as partial sand replacement material in concrete mix towards density and compressive strength was investigated in this study. Total of five mixes consisting various content of crushed oil palm shell as partial sand replacement ranging from 0, 25, 50, 75 and 100% were prepared in form of cubes. All the specimens were water cured before tested at 7, 14 and 28 days. Compressive strength was conducted in accordance to BSEN 12390. Generally, the compressive strength and density decrease with the increase in the crushed oil palm shell replacement level. Between 50 to 75% replacement, the mix produced possess lower density enabling it to be categorized as lightweight concrete and has the potential to be used as non-load bearing structure. The application in structural concrete material is suited for mix consisting around 25% of crushed oil palm shell.

  17. The need for a marketing strategy for Alberta bitumen

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Over the past 15 years, government and industry have invested heavily in research and development of new technology for extracting bitumen from the Alberta oil sands. The results have been a dramatic increase in the fraction of oil sands deposits that could be economically exploited and a drop in production costs. However, no rapid increase in bitumen recovery has been achieved and most new bitumen production projects have been postponed or cancelled. This is the result of very variable prices for bitumen and the inadequacy of a marketing strategy which relies on the sale of raw bitumen. Options such as transport of bitumen to southern markets are limited by the need to reduce bitumen viscosity for pipelining and by the limited market for emulsified or diluted bitumen. Another possible strategy, conversion of the bitumen to synthetic crude oil, is limited by high costs, product characteristics (too much diesel and not enough gasoline), and a market limited to specialized refineries. A third strategy is to convert and refine bitumen to transportation fuels in Alberta, using inexpensive local natural gas, and transporting the products through existing pipeline facilities. 3 figs

  18. Steam producing plant concept of 4S for oil sand extraction

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Plant concept of small fast reactor '4S' applying to continuous steam production for recovery of crude oil from oil sands was investigated. Assuming typical steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) plant whose production scale is 120,000 barrels per day of a crude oil, concept of nuclear steam supply system consisting of eight reactor modules for steam production and three reactor modules for electric generation of the 4S with a thermal rating of 135 MWt was established without any essential or significant design change from the preceding 4S with a thermal rating of 30 MWt. The 4S, provided for an oil sand extraction, will reduce greenhouse gas emission significantly, and has not much burden for development and licensing and has economic competitiveness. (author)

  19. Proceedings of the Canadian Institute conference on maximizing oil sands growth : improving transportation logistics, labour supply and pipeline availability

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This conference focused on the development of a transportation infrastructure to accommodate oil sands growth, with particular reference to building a pipeline infrastructure to meet the delivery and supply requirements of oil sands producers. The need for transmission system upgrades and additions to meet the electric power requirements of the oil sands industry was also discussed. The transportation options and new proposed pipeline construction projects that will alleviate the current transportation challenges in the oil sands region were identified. These include the implementation of new infrastructure strategies based on current pipeline availability, Kyoto requirements and downstream market demands. The impact of labour shortages on the oil sands industry was reviewed along with solutions to prevent and overcome these shortages. The conference featured 15 presentations, of which 3 have been catalogued separately for inclusion in this database. tabs., figs

  20. Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) satellite validations of ammonia, methanol, formic acid, and carbon monoxide over the Canadian oil sands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shephard, M. W.; McLinden, C. A.; Cady-Pereira, K. E.; Luo, M.; Moussa, S. G.; Leithead, A.; Liggio, J.; Staebler, R. M.; Akingunola, A.; Makar, P.; Lehr, P.; Zhang, J.; Henze, D. K.; Millet, D. B.; Bash, J. O.; Zhu, L.; Wells, K. C.; Capps, S. L.; Chaliyakunnel, S.; Gordon, M.; Hayden, K.; Brook, J. R.; Wolde, M.; Li, S.-M.

    2015-09-01

    The wealth of air quality information provided by satellite infrared observations of ammonia (NH3), carbon monoxide (CO), formic acid (HCOOH), and methanol (CH3OH) is currently being explored and used for number of applications, especially at regional or global scales. These applications include air quality monitoring, trend analysis, emissions, and model evaluation. This study provides one of the first direct validations of Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) satellite retrieved profiles of NH3, CH3OH, and HCOOH through comparisons with coincident aircraft profiles. The comparisons are performed over the Canadian oil sands region during the intensive field campaign (August-September~2013) in support of the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for the Oil Sands Monitoring (JOSM). The satellite/aircraft comparisons over this region during this period produced errors of: (i) + 0.08 ± 0.25 ppbv for NH3, (ii) + 7.5 ± 23 ppbv for CO, (iii) + 0.19 ± 0.46 ppbv for HCOOH, and (iv) -1.1 ± 0.39 ppbv for CH3OH. These values mostly agree with previously estimated retrieval errors; however, the relatively large negative bias in CH3OH and the significantly greater positive bias for larger HCOOH and CO values observed during this study warrant further investigation. Satellite and aircraft ammonia observations during the field campaign are also used in an initial effort to perform preliminary evaluations of Environment Canada's Global Environmental Multi-scale - Modelling Air quality and CHemistry (GEM-MACH) air quality modelling system at high-resolution (2.5 km × 2.5 km). These initial results indicate model under-prediction of ~ 0.6 ppbv (~ 60 %) for NH3, during the field campaign period. The TES-model CO comparison differences are ~ +20 ppbv (~ +20 %), but given that under these conditions the TES/aircraft comparisons also show a small positive TES CO bias indicates that the overall model under-prediction of CO is closer to ~ 10 % at 681 hPa (~ 3 km) during this

  1. Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES satellite validations of ammonia, methanol, formic acid, and carbon monoxide over the Canadian oil sands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. W. Shephard

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available The wealth of air quality information provided by satellite infrared observations of ammonia (NH3, carbon monoxide (CO, formic acid (HCOOH, and methanol (CH3OH is currently being explored and used for number of applications, especially at regional or global scales. These applications include air quality monitoring, trend analysis, emissions, and model evaluation. This study provides one of the first direct validations of Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES satellite retrieved profiles of NH3, CH3OH, and HCOOH through comparisons with coincident aircraft profiles. The comparisons are performed over the Canadian oil sands region during the intensive field campaign (August–September~2013 in support of the Joint Canada–Alberta Implementation Plan for the Oil Sands Monitoring (JOSM. The satellite/aircraft comparisons over this region during this period produced errors of: (i + 0.08 ± 0.25 ppbv for NH3, (ii + 7.5 ± 23 ppbv for CO, (iii + 0.19 ± 0.46 ppbv for HCOOH, and (iv -1.1 ± 0.39 ppbv for CH3OH. These values mostly agree with previously estimated retrieval errors; however, the relatively large negative bias in CH3OH and the significantly greater positive bias for larger HCOOH and CO values observed during this study warrant further investigation. Satellite and aircraft ammonia observations during the field campaign are also used in an initial effort to perform preliminary evaluations of Environment Canada's Global Environmental Multi-scale – Modelling Air quality and CHemistry (GEM-MACH air quality modelling system at high-resolution (2.5 km × 2.5 km. These initial results indicate model under-prediction of ~ 0.6 ppbv (~ 60 % for NH3, during the field campaign period. The TES-model CO comparison differences are ~ +20 ppbv (~ +20 %, but given that under these conditions the TES/aircraft comparisons also show a small positive TES CO bias indicates that the overall model under-prediction of CO is closer to ~ 10 % at 681 hPa (~ 3 km

  2. Biodegradation of MC252 oil in oil:sand aggregates in a coastal headland beach environment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vijaikrishnah eElango

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Biodegradation potential of MC252 in oil:sand aggregates, termed surface residue balls (SRBs, was examined using multiple lines of evidence on a heavily-impacted coastal headland beach in Louisiana, USA. SRBs were sampled over a 16-month period on the supratidal beach environment where reasonable control existed on the residence time of the aggregates on the beach surface. PAH and alkane concentration ratios were measured including PAH/C30-hopane, C2/C3 phenanthrenes, C2/C3 dibenzothiophenes and alkane/C30-hopane and demonstrated unequivocally that biodegradation was occurring in SRBs in the supratidal. These biodegradation reactions occurred over time frames relevant to the coastal processes moving SRBs off the beach. In contrast, submerged oil mat (SOM samples did not demonstrate chemical changes consistent with biodegradation. Review and analysis of additional biogeochemical parameters suggested the existence of a moisture and N-limited biodegradation regime on the supratidal beach environment. At this location, SRBs possess moisture contents < 2% and molar C:N ratios from 131-323, well outside of optimal values for biodegradation in the literature. Despite these limitations, biodegradation of PAHs and alkanes proceeded at relevant rates (2-8 year-1 due in part to the presence of degrading populations, i.e., Mycobacterium sp., adapted to these conditions. For SOM samples in the intertidal, an oxygen and salinity-impacted regime is proposed that severely limits biodegradation of alkanes and PAHs in this environment. These results support the hypothesis that SRBs deposited at different locations on the beach have different biogeochemical characteristics (e.g., moisture; salinity; terminal electron acceptors; nutrient; and oil composition due, in part, to their location on the landscape.

  3. Mapping oil-contaminated sand and till with the spectral induced polarization (SIP) method

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The laboratory and field results from an environmental application of the spectral induced polarization (SIP) method are presented. The phase spectra of the resistivity of uncontaminated glacial till, silt, sand and gravel were measured in the laboratory. The effects of waste oil and motor oil on the phase and amplitude spectra of the resistivity were studied using artificially contaminated sand and till samples and mineral soil samples from real waste sites. Field IP and SIP measurements were also made at the waste sites. The laboratory phase spectra of sands and tills were straight or slightly concave upwards in a log-log plot. The phase angle varies between 0.1 and 20 mrad at 1 Hz frequency and increases towards higher frequencies with a slope of 0.15--0.25. In laboratory tests, motor oil and waste oil changed the phase and amplitude spectra of sand and till. At first, the amplitude and phase decreased due to oil contamination. Later, during continued maturation, both the amplitude and phase increased. After a few days or weeks of maturation, some of the contaminated samples showed a convex-upwards phase spectrum. The features observed in artificially contaminated samples were also detected in the sample material from real waste sites. Furthermore, the in situ results from the waste sites were in agreement with the laboratory results. In laboratory tests, the phase spectra of clean sand and till remained stable with time, whereas the phase spectra of oil-contaminated samples changed with increasing maturation time. This, together with the field results, suggests that differences between the spectra of clean and polluted soils, and also changes occurring in the phase spectra of contaminated soils with time, can be indicative of contamination

  4. The effect of gas and oil well blowout emissions on livestock in Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Poisoning caused by emissions from sour gas well or oil well blowouts is not acute because the gases are diluted by the atmosphere before they reach livestock. Exposure may last a month or more and may produce a syndrome indistinguishable from common disorders of flu, malaise, mood change, and in the case of animals, lack of production or decreased production. Little information is available on the composition of releases from well blowouts, which may change due to concurrent reactions with oxygen and photodecomposition. Effects on livestock observed to results from sour gas plant emissions (mostly sulfur dioxide) include runny eyes in cattle, loss of production, diarrhea and abortion. Blowout emissions may contain oxidant gases as well as hydrogen sulfides. These products irritate mucous membranes, and can lead to pink eye. Respiratory problems may include upper respiratory tract infections, and may produce susceptibility to secondary pneumonia. Abortion, infertility and congenital effects are areas of concern. It is considered unlikely that hydrogen sulfide can cause such effects, however carbon disulfide and carbonyl sulfide, both present in sour gas blowouts, are known to have effects on the fetus. Effects on production and performance are unknown, and it is postulated that amounts of sulfur deposition are insufficient to cause nutrient deficiencies. Psychological reactions are suggested to explain some of the adverse effects of exposure to sour gas. 1 ref

  5. An update to the construction of the Suncor oil sands tailings pond 5 cover

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Abusaid, Ayman; Pollock, Gord; Fear, Catherine; McRoberts, Ed [AMEC Earth and Environmental (Canada); Wells, Sean [Suncor Energy Inc. (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    Tailings, produced during the extraction process that separates bitumen from oil sand, are pumped into holding ponds. The heaviest material - mostly sand - settles to the bottom, while water rises to the top, creating a middle layer, the mature fine tailings (MFT), made up of fine clay particles suspended in water. Suncor is using consolidated tailings technology to speed up the consolidation of MFT. To facilitate reclamation of its pond 5 oil sands tailings pond and make a trafficable surface, Suncor began construction of a full-scale floating cover over the fluid tailings in the pond in January, 2010. A road and infill approach was taken which involved constructing a network of roads as the first stage, followed by constructing the area between the roads (or cells) in the following stage, using geosynthetics overlain by petroleum coke. The results from a series of field trials conducted during this year and from other novel aspects of construction are presented and discussed in this paper.

  6. Uptake of Organic Contaminants by Plants from Oil Sands Fine Tailings

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2003-01-01

    The objectives of this experiment were to evaluate the performance of different plant species growing in different kinds of oil sands fine tailings,and to estimate the uptake of organic contaminants by plants from the oil sands fine tailings.In general,total hydrocarbon in the plant could be ranked(beginning with the highest)as:unweathered plant 4 tailings (UWT),Freeze-Thawtailings(FT),weathered plant 4 tailings(WT),and consolidated tailings(CT) for the willow,poplar and cattails.For grass,CT amended with tailings sand and muskeg had the highest hydrocarbon level in the field treatment,however,other three kinds of tailings(FT,WT and UWT) had lower but similar to each other hydrocarbon levels.

  7. Process water treatment in Canada's oil sands industry : 2 : a review of emerging technologies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This review was conducted to identify candidate treatment technologies for treating oil sands process water. The oil sands industry in Canada uses large volumes of fresh water in order to extract bitumen deposits. The development of process water treatment technologies has become a critical issue for the industry, particularly as oil sand production is expected to triple in the next decade. However, treatment technologies must be adapted to consider the fouling potential of bitumens and fine clays as well as the effect of alkaline process water on treatment performance. The review included developments in chemical modifications to membranes and adsorbents designed to improve pollutant removal and reduce fouling; hybridization technologies designed to enhance the biological treatment of toxic feedwaters; recent advances in photocatalytic oxidation technologies for organic compounds; and new designs for large-scale treatment wetlands for polluted waste waters. It was concluded that major knowledge gaps must be optimized and preliminary studies must be conducted in order to understand how the treatment technologies will be affected by the chemical and physical characteristics of oil sands process water. 188 refs., 8 tabs

  8. Pollutant deposition impacts on lichens, mosses, wood and soil in the Athabasca oil sands area

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A study was conducted to monitor the accumulation and impact on the environment of emissions from oil sands processing plants. SO2, H2S, NOx and hydrocarbon concentrations in the air were monitored. Syncrude Canada Ltd. conducted surveys to determine elemental levels in lichens and mosses. The objective of the study was to monitor the pattern of accumulation of emissions by oil sand plants in, and their effects on, lichens and mosses, and examine changes in wood induced by soil acidity. The moss, lichen and wood samples were analyzed for total elemental content. Soils were analyzed for pH, soluble sulphate and other properties related to soil acidity and soil composition. Little or no evidence was found to indicate that wood tissue chemistry has been affected by atmospheric deposition of substances originating from oil sands plants. These results led to the inference that no large changes in soil acidity have resulted from oil sands plant emissions either. 66 refs., 21 tabs., 124 figs

  9. Royal Society of Canada expert panel report : environmental and health impacts of Canada's oil sands industry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This expert panel report was commissioned by the Royal Society of Canada to provide a comprehensive evidence-based assessment of the environmental and health impacts of Canada's oil sands industry. The report evaluated the feasibility of land reclamation and the impacts of oil sands contaminants on downstream residents. Health impacts on residents living in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo were assessed, and the impacts on regional water supplies were evaluated. Regional water and ground water quantities were examined, and issues related to tailing pond operations and reclamation were examined. Ambient air quality impacts were assessed, as well as potential impacts of the oil sands industry on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The environmental regulatory performance of operators in the industry was also evaluated. A summary of economic and policy issues related to the industry was also provided. The study identified major gaps in the process of assessment, prevention, and mitigation of the health impacts of oil sands exploitation, as as major indirect health impacts linked to past exploitation activities. 672 refs., 11 tabs., 11 figs. 10 appendices.

  10. Physiological and biochemical responses of small fish exposed to Athabasca oil sands sediment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A study was conducted to determine the influence of naturally occurring oil sands related compounds on the reproductive function and hepatic responses of fish. Wild fish, both exposed and unexposed to the compounds in question, were collected along with sediments for laboratory testing. The study showed that in vitro gonadal incubation levels of steroid production were lower at the tributary sites within the oil sands deposits. One indicator of exposure to oil sands related compounds (hepatic 7-ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase activity) was shown to be 5 times higher at the same sites. In addition, slimy sculpin were exposed to sediment samples from the Steepbank River site for 4 to 8 days to evaluate the absorption of the indicator. The indicator in exposed fish was found to be comparable to that measured in fish native to the oil sands area. The study was not capable of predicting an altered ability of gonadal tissue of exposed fish to produce steroid hormones in vitro. It was concluded that future development could compromise the reproductive health of fish in the area

  11. Generation opportunities in Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Reid-Carlson, D. [Optimum Energy Management Inc., Calgary, AB (Canada)

    1998-07-01

    Optimum Energy Management Inc. (OEMI) specializes in: (1) energy management services and training, (2) regulatory consulting, and (3) energy economics and forecasting. As an example of the company`s special expertise, this historical account and future supply and demand forecast for electricity, and for oil and gas in Alberta was presented. The exercise included a review of the Alberta Pool price study and power generation opportunities in a deregulated market, including risks. A rise in pool prices to $25 to $30 per MWh by the year 2000, and a softening of prices beyond the turn of the century were predicted, along with continued regulatory reform and increased levels of competition. Natural gas convergence is expected to drive electricity prices in the future. 1 tab., 11 figs.

  12. Biosurfactant-producing and oil-degrading Bacillus subtilis strains enhance oil recovery in laboratory sand-pack columns.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gudiña, Eduardo J; Pereira, Jorge F B; Costa, Rita; Coutinho, João A P; Teixeira, José A; Rodrigues, Lígia R

    2013-10-15

    Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) technology uses microorganisms and their metabolites to retrieve unrecoverable oil from mature reservoirs. In situ stimulation of biosurfactant-producing and oil-degrading microorganisms reduces the capillary forces retaining the oil inside the reservoir and decreases its viscosity, thus promoting oil flow and consequently production. In this work, a sand-pack column model was designed to simulate oil recovery operations and evaluate mobilization of residual oil by the selected microorganisms. Four different hydrocarbon mixtures and three Bacillus subtilis strains isolated from crude oil samples were used. Additional oil recoveries ranged from 6 to 24% depending on the hydrocarbon mixture and microorganism used. Biosurfactant production was observed with all the microorganisms and hydrocarbon mixtures studied. The oils recovered after incubation with B. subtilis isolates showed a reduction in the percentage of long-chain n-alkanes and lower viscosity when compared with the original oils. The results obtained suggest that stimulation of the selected B. subtilis strains in situ can contribute to mobilize entrapped oil in mature reservoirs. PMID:23911831

  13. Simulation of oil sands in-line thickened tailings disposition

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jeeravipoolvarn, S.; Scott, J.D.; Chalaturnyk, R.J. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    2010-07-01

    A finite strain consolidation theory was used to simulate field deposition of in-line thickened tailings (ILTT), sheared in-line thickened tailings, cyclone overflow fine tailings and composite tailings made from ILTT (ILTT-CT). The paper discussed tailings constitutive relationships and tailings placement schemes as well as simulation results. Six scenarios were selected for this investigation. Scenarios 1 to 4 were depositions of cyclone overflow tailings, in-line thickened tailings, sheared in-line thickened tailings and ILTT-CT by depositing the materials for 3 months in a disposal area and allowing them to settle under self-weight for 9 months. This method enabled consolidation by an upward single drainage condition. Scenarios 5 and 6 used a double drainage condition, notably sand sandwiching and sand columns. In Scenario 5, the same amount of the fine tailings was divided into three ponds, in which each pond was filled for 2 months then 20 kPa of sand cap was applied during the third month. At the start of the fourth month a new tailings layer was deposited and the process was repeated. For Scenario 6, ILTT-CT was deposited in a single pond with the same filling strategy as that of Scenario 5. It was concluded that even though the in-line thickened tailings provided a significant improvement in sedimentation and consolidation characteristics of the fine tails, the possibility of reclaiming the land could only come by combining good deposition techniques, external stresses, environmental conditions and good strategy. 6 refs., 2 tabs., 7 figs.

  14. Anaerobic BTEX degradation in oil sands tailings ponds: Impact of labile organic carbon and sulfate-reducing bacteria.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stasik, Sebastian; Wick, Lukas Y; Wendt-Potthoff, Katrin

    2015-11-01

    The extraction of bitumen from oil sands in Alberta (Canada) produces volumes of tailings that are pumped into large anaerobic settling-basins. Beside bitumen, tailings comprise fractions of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX) that derive from the application of industrial solvents. Due to their toxicity and volatility, BTEX pose a strong concern for gas- and water-phase environments in the vicinity of the ponds. The examination of two pond profiles showed that concentrations of indigenous BTEX decreased with depth, pointing at BTEX transformation in situ. With depth, the relative contribution of ethylbenzene and xylenes to total BTEX significantly decreased, while benzene increased relatively from 44% to 69%, indicating preferential hydrocarbon degradation. To predict BTEX turnover and residence time, we determined BTEX degradation rates in tailings of different depths in a 180-days microcosm study. In addition, we evaluated the impact of labile organic substrates (e.g. acetate) generally considered to stimulate hydrocarbon degradation and the contribution of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) to BTEX turnover. In all depths, BTEX concentrations significantly decreased due to microbial activity, with degradation rates ranging between 4 and 9 μg kg(-1) d(-1). BTEX biodegradation decreased linearly in correlation with initial concentrations, suggesting a concentration-dependent BTEX transformation. SRB were not significantly involved in BTEX consumption, indicating the importance of methanogenic degradation. BTEX removal decreased to 70-90% in presence of organic substrates presumptively due to an accumulation of acetate that lowered BTEX turnover due to product inhibition. In those assays SRB slightly stimulated BTEX transformation by reducing inhibitory acetate levels. PMID:26066083

  15. Ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) induction in rainbow trout exposed to diluted oil sand wastewater

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Toxic industrial wastewaters, such as those from oil sands extraction, must be assessed for their potential sublethal effects before they can be safely disposed in the environment. The induction of ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase activity was assessed as a potential bioindicator of sublethal stress in rainbow trout exposed to sublethal concentrations of oil sands tailings water. The mixed-function oxygenase system in rainbow trout responded rapidly following a definable concentration-response relationship; however, it proved to be a relatively insensitive indicator of sublethal exposure to oil sands tailings water. Increased activity and maximal induction, as a result of exposure to 0.3 and 0.6 times the LC50 (Toxic Units), occurred rapidly within 24 hours of exposure. The linearity of the relationship between the concentration of oil sands tailings pond water and ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase activity, expressed by the following regression equation, In EROD = 3.68 (conc.) + 3.20, had an r2 value of 0.593. Maximal induction required 0.4--0.8 Toxic Units. The absolute level of maximal induction was only one-fifth to one-sixth of the potential induction as found in response to the positive control, 0.5 mg/kg β-naphthoflavone (i.p.). The authors also present data that suggests that the different levels of induction observed in trout exposed to tailings pond water vs those injected with 0.5 mg/kg β-naphthoflavone (i.p.) may be indicative of two different P450 isoforms, the CYP4Al isoform responding to the organic acidic surfactants in oil sands tailings pond water and the CYP1A1 isoform, the isoform generally associated with most xenobiotic transformation in fish, responding to β-naphthoflavone

  16. Research on the technology of cold production with limited sanding in heavy oil reservoir with bottom and edge water

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Li, X.; Zhang, Y.; Gao, C.; Li, X. [Research Inst. of Petroleum Exploration and Development, Beijing (China)

    2006-07-01

    This paper discussed a new method for selectively controlling sand discharges in cold heavy oil production (CHOP) wells in the Fula region in China. The critical sanding rate was developed by determining the cohesion strength of the sand and modelling it with reservoir data. The effect of limiting sand on the near wellbore region was examined using 4-phase simulation software. The influence of sanding on nearby wellbores was also examined. The simulation was history-matched with a well from the field. Results showed that the method had good connectivity with the oil layer. Subsequent production data showed that the limited sanding technique was successful. The technique also improved formation conditions. The simulation demonstrated that the application of CHOP with limited sanding improved productivity rates. 1 ref.

  17. Implications of a 2 degree C global temperature rise on Canada's water resources : Athabasca River and oil sands development : Great Lakes and hydropower production

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A globally averaged warming of 2 degrees C is expected to occur by the middle of this century unless significant efforts are made in all countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This study examined the impacts of a 2 degrees C global warming on: (1) the Athabasca River and oil sands production; and (2) the Great Lakes and hydropower production. The study was based on previous climate predictions from 6 coupled ocean-atmosphere global climate models. The studies showed that the Athabasca River and the Great Lakes regions have seen increases in mean temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns in recent decades. Flows in the Athabasca River decreased by approximately 20 per cent between 1958 and 2003, and water levels in the Great Lakes have remained consistently low between 1998 and 2001. Under the 2 degrees C warming scenario, minimum flows in the Athabasca River are likely to diminish by 7 to 10 per cent, and water levels in the Great Lakes could fall by 0.08 to 1.18 metres, indicating a potential loss of between 2 to 17 per cent in hydropower production on the St. Lawrence River. An increased frequency and severity of hot spells in summer will increase the region's peak summer energy demand. Results also suggested that the projected rate of water use from the Athabasca River for oil sands projects will become more unsustainable under climate change. The impacts of water withdrawal from oil sands projects will have serious consequences beyond the area of the projects themselves, threatening the productivity of the Peace Athabasca Delta, compromising the sharing of water with downstream jurisdictions in the Mackenzie River system, and ecosystem degradation. The study recommended that Alberta should consider withholding approval of oil sands projects until substantial water conservation measures are introduced. Plans should also be developed for alternative energy projects to compensate for declines in hydropower from the Great Lakes system. It was

  18. Scavenging ratio of polycyclic aromatic compounds in rain and snow at the Athabasca oil sands region

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Zhang

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available Athabasca oil sands industry in northern Alberta, Canada is a possible source of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs. Monitored PACs, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs, alkylated PAHs, and dibenzothiophenes, in precipitation and in air at three near-source sites in the Fort MacKay and Fort McMurray area during May 2011 to August 2012 were analyzed to generate a database of scavenging (or washout ratios (Wt for PACs scavenged by both snow and rain. Median precipitation and air concentrations of parent PAHs over the May 2011 to August 2012 period ranged from 0.3–184.9 (chrysene ng L−1 and 0.01–3.9 (naphthalene ng m−3, respectively, which were comparable to literature values. Higher concentrations in precipitation and air were observed for alkylated PAHs and dibenzothiophenes. The median precipitation and air concentrations were 11.3–646.7 (C3-fluoranthene/pyrene ng L−1 and 0.21–16.9 (C3-naphthalene ng m−3, respectively, for alkylated PAHs, and 8.5–530.5 (C4-dibenzothiophene ng L−1 and 0.13–6.6 (C2-dibenzothiophene ng m−3 for dibenzothiophenes and their alkylated derivatives. Median Wt over the measurement period were 6100–1.1 × 106 from snow scavenging and 350–2.3 × 105 from rain scavenging depending on the PAC species. Median Wt for parent PAHs were within the range of those observed at other urban and suburban locations. But Wt for acenaphthylene in snow samples was 2–7 times higher. Some individual snow and rain samples exceeded literature values by a factor of 10. Wt for benzo(apyrene, dibenz(a,hanthracene, and benzo(g,h,iperylene in snow samples had reached 107, which is the maximum for PAH snow scavenging ratios reported in literature. From the analysis of data subsets, Wt for particulate-phase dominant PACs were 14–20 times greater than gas-phase dominant PACs in snow samples and 7–20 times greater than gas-phase dominant PACs in rain samples. Wt from snow scavenging was ∼9 times greater

  19. Assessing mobility and redistribution patterns of sand and oil agglomerates in the surf zone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalyander, P Soupy; Long, Joseph W; Plant, Nathaniel G; Thompson, David M

    2014-03-15

    Heavier-than-water sand and oil agglomerates that formed in the surf zone following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continued to cause beach re-oiling 3years after initial stranding. To understand this phenomena and inform operational response now and for future spills, a numerical method to assess the mobility and alongshore movement of these "surface residual balls" (SRBs) was developed and applied to the Alabama and western Florida coasts. Alongshore flow and SRB mobility and potential flux were used to identify likely patterns of transport and deposition. Results indicate that under typical calm conditions, cm-size SRBs are unlikely to move alongshore, whereas mobility and transport is likely during storms. The greater mobility of sand compared to SRBs makes burial and exhumation of SRBs likely, and inlets were identified as probable SRB traps. Analysis of field data supports these model results. PMID:24503377

  20. China joins Alberta oilsands research

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This paper reports that China's state oil company has bought a stake in an in situ oilsands research project in northern Alberta. China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) will invest $6.5 million in the Underground Test Facility (UTF) operated by Alberta Oilsands Technology and Research Authority (Aostra) near Fort McMurray. It is the first foreign research investment for CNPC. The UTF is a joint venture by provincial agency Aostria, the Canadian federal government, and commercial partners in underground mining techniques to extract crude oil from bitumen. Alberta opened a trade office in Beijing in 1991 and now sells several hundred million dollars a year in petroleum equipment and services to China. A horizontal well in situ steam injection process is approaching the production stage at the UTF. It is to begin producing at a rate of 2,000 b/d this fall. The current project is a followup to a pilot project

  1. Enhanced ex situ bioremediation of crude oil contaminated beach sand by supplementation with nutrients and rhamnolipids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nikolopoulou, M; Pasadakis, N; Norf, H; Kalogerakis, N

    2013-12-15

    Mediterranean coastal regions are particularly exposed to oil pollution due to extensive industrialization, urbanization and transport of crude and refined oil to and from refineries. Bioremediation of contaminated beach sand through landfarming is both simple and cost-effective to implement compared to other treatment technologies. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of alternative nutrients on biodegradation of crude oil contaminated beach sand in an effort to reduce the time required for bioremediation employing only indigenous hydrocarbon degraders. A natural sandy soil was collected from Agios Onoufrios beach (Chania, Greece) and was contaminated with weathered crude oil. The indigenous microbial population in the contaminated sand was tested alone (control treatment) or in combination with inorganic nutrients (KNO3 and K2HPO4) to investigate their effects on oil biodegradation rates. In addition, the ability of biosurfactants (rhamnolipids), in the presence of organic nutrients (uric acid and lecithin), to further stimulate biodegradation was investigated in laboratory microcosms over a 45-day period. Biodegradation was tracked by GC/MS analysis of aliphatic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons components and the measured concentrations were corrected for abiotic removal by hopane normalizations. It was found that the saturated fraction of the residual oil is degraded more extensively than the aromatic fraction and the bacterial growth after an incubation period of approximately 3 weeks was much greater from the bacterial growth in the control. The results show that the treatments with inorganic or organic nutrients are equally effective over almost 30 days where C12-C35n-alkanes were degraded more than 97% and polyaromatic hydrocarbons with two or three rings were degraded more than 95% within 45 days. The results clearly show that the addition of nutrients to contaminated beach sand significantly enhanced the activity of

  2. Feasibility study of producing lump fuel using oil-bituminous sands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Moldybaev, A.B.; Ermagambetov, B.T.; Mamraeva, K.M.; Shin, R.G.; Bakirova, R.K. (Institut Organicheskogo Sinteza i Uglekhimii AN KazSSR (USSR))

    1991-04-01

    Describes production of lump fuel by briquetting and coking different mixtures of non-caking coal with coal preparation sludge and bitumen extracted from oil sands. The coal used was from the Shubarkol'sk coal deposit (USSR); the sludge was from the Saburkhanskaya preparation plant. Properties and composition of oil-bituminous sands and of bitumen to be used as binder are given. Technological details of the briquetting and coking processes are provided. Results show that briquets produced from mixtures of coal and oil-bituminous sands can only be used as a high-ash lump fuel, which cannot be further processed into semicoke. Experiments were carried out briquetting coal or coke, sludge and 6-8% bitumen extracted from the sands, varying coal or coke grain fractions and composition of the mixture. An increased briquet strength was found after using the vacuum-distilled 300-350 C bitumen fraction. Briquets from this non-caking coal with bitumen binder are regarded as ecologically clean fuel. 5 refs.

  3. Oil sand production and processing. Technology, economy, environmental aspects. 2. ed.

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The nearing decline in global oil production with all its consequences gives rise to the question as to possible alternative technologies, both on the application and the supply side. What contribution can come from a more efficient use of oil? What other liquid fuels can replace today's supply of crude oil? What role will unconventional oil resources play in the future? What quantities of oil can be made available from these reserves and over which time horizons? What restrictions exist on their exploitation? The purpose of the present study was to examine these questions for the example of one of the most significant alternative technologies on the supply side, namely that of unconventional oil resources. Since unconventional oil resources are very heterogeneous in terms of deposit characteristics, oil quality and exploitation technologies, the present study was restricted to a single type, namely that of oil sand extraction. This is currently the furthest developed unconventional oil resource both technically and economically, making it an ideal choice for a case study on the opportunities and risks of unconventional oil resources.

  4. Sea sand disruption method (SSDM) as a valuable tool for isolating essential oil components from conifers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dawidowicz, Andrzej L; Czapczyńska, Natalia B

    2011-11-01

    Essential oils are one of nature's most precious gifts with surprisingly potent and outstanding properties. Coniferous oils, for instance, are nowadays being used extensively to treat or prevent many types of infections, modify immune responses, soothe inflammations, stabilize moods, and to help ease all forms of non-acute pain. Given the broad spectrum of usage of coniferous essential oils, a fast, safe, simple, and efficient sample-preparation method is needed in the estimation procedure of essential oil components in fresh plant material. Generally, the time- and energy-consuming steam distillation (SD) is applied for this purpose. This paper will compare SD, pressurized liquid extraction (PLE), matrix solid-phase dispersion (MSPD), and the sea sand disruption method (SSDM) as isolation techniques to obtain aroma components from Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), spruce (Picea abies), and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). According to the obtained data, SSDM is the most efficient sample preparation method in determining the essential oil composition of conifers. Moreover, SSDM requires small organic solvent amounts and a short extraction time, which makes it an advantageous alternative procedure for the routine analysis of coniferous oils. The superiority of SSDM over MSPD efficiency is ascertained, as there are no chemical interactions between the plant cell components and the sand. This fact confirms the reliability and efficacy of SSDM for the analysis of volatile oil components. PMID:22083917

  5. Chinese Oil Giants Eye Canadian Oil Fields

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Miao Bin

    2005-01-01

    @@ SinoCanada, a subsidiary of Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration and Development Corporation, and Canada-based Synenco Energy Inc announced on May 31 that they have inked a series of agreements to launch a joint venture for common development of the oil sand project located in Athabasca region of Northeast Canada's Alberta Province. Based on the agreements, Sinopec will pay 105 million Canadian dollars (US$84 million) for a stake in Canada's Northern Lights oil sands project while Synenco owns the remaining 60 percent share,and will operate the project as the managing partner.

  6. The hydrological and geochemical isolation of a freshwater bog within a saline fen in north-eastern Alberta

    OpenAIRE

    S.J. Scarlett; J.S. Price

    2013-01-01

    In the oil sands development region near Fort McMurray, Alberta, wetlands cover ~62 % of the landscape, and ~95 % of these wetlands are peatlands. A saline fen was studied as a reference site for peatland reclamation. Despite highly saline conditions, a freshwater bog was observed in the path of local saline groundwater flow. The purpose of this study was to identify the hydrological controls that have allowed the development and persistence of a bog in this setting. The presence of bog veget...

  7. Source and distribution of naturally occurring arsenic in groundwater from Alberta’s Southern Oil Sands Regions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Moncur, Michael C.; Paktunc, Dogan; Birks, S. Jean; Ptacek, Carol J.; Welsh, Brent; Thibault, Yves (CanmetMINING); (AER); (Alberta Innov.); (Waterloo)

    2016-06-10

    Arsenic (As) concentrations as high as 179 μg/L have been observed in shallow groundwater in the Alberta’s Southern Oil Sand Regions. The geology of this area of Alberta includes a thick cover (up to 200 m) of unconsolidated glacial deposits, with a number of regional interglacial sand and gravel aquifers, underlain by marine shale. Arsenic concentrations observed in 216 unconsolidated sediment samples ranged from 1 and 17 ppm. A survey of over 800 water wells sampled for As in the area found that 50% of the wells contained As concentrations exceeding drinking water guidelines of 10 μg/L. Higher As concentrations in groundwater were associated with reducing conditions. Measurements of As speciation from 175 groundwater samples indicate that As(III) was the dominant species in 74% of the wells. Speciation model calculations showed that the majority of groundwater samples were undersaturated with respect to ferrihydrite, suggesting that reductive dissolution of Fe-oxyhydroxides may be the source of some As in groundwater. Detailed mineralogical characterization of sediment samples collected from two formations revealed the presence of fresh framboidal pyrite in the deeper unoxidized sediments. Electron microprobe analysis employing wavelength dispersive spectrometry indicated that the framboidal pyrite had variable As content with an average As concentration of 530 ppm, reaching up to 1840 ppm. In contrast, the oxidized sediments did not contain framboidal pyrite, but exhibited spheroidal Fe-oxyhydroxide grains with elevated As concentrations. The habit and composition suggest that these Fe-oxyhydroxide grains in the oxidized sediment were an alteration product of former framboidal pyrite grains. X-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy (XANES) indicated that the oxidized sediments are dominated by As(V) species having spectral features similar to those of goethite or ferrihydrite with adsorbed As, suggesting that Fe-oxyhydroxides are the dominant As carriers

  8. Pore Scale Analysis of Oil Shale/Sands Pyrolysis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lin, Chen-Luh; Miller, Jan

    2011-03-01

    There are important questions concerning the quality and volume of pore space that is created when oil shale is pyrolyzed for the purpose of producing shale oil. In this report, 1.9 cm diameter cores of Mahogany oil shale were pyrolyzed at different temperatures and heating rates. Detailed 3D imaging of core samples was done using multiscale X-ray computed tomography (CT) before and after pyrolysis to establish the pore structure. The pore structure of the unreacted material was not clear. Selected images of a core pyrolyzed at 400oC were obtained at voxel resolutions from 39 microns (❍m) to 60 nanometers (nm). Some of the pore space created during pyrolysis was clearly visible at these resolutions and it was possible to distinguish between the reaction products and the host shale rock. The pore structure deduced from the images was used in Lattice Boltzmann simulations to calculate the permeability in the pore space. The permeabilities of the pyrolyzed samples of the silicate-rich zone were on the order of millidarcies, while the permeabilities of the kerogen-rich zone after pyrolysis were very anisotropic and about four orders of magnitude higher.

  9. Case study : Syncrude Canada Ltd. optimizing waste heat recovery at an oil sands operation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2005-07-01

    Syncrude Canada Ltd., the world's largest producer of crude oil from oil sands, has made upgrades over a seven-year period to its water recycling process, resulting in more heat recovered at the preheaters in its oil sands operations. The preheaters are the key to the recycling process water system. The incentive to optimize heat recovery at the preheaters was to reduce the amount of natural gas required to heat the water used to extract bitumen from the oil sands. The second objective was to lower costs spent on new equipment to heat the water. Syncrude operators attended workshops offered by the Office of Energy Efficiency at Natural Resources Canada to learn the value of monitoring and cleaning the process-water system to recover as much lost heat as possible. This paper presented a project profile and the approach used to optimize the system, beginning with the installation of twisted-tube heat exchangers in 1997, followed by the installation of a larger pump impeller in 1998 which increased the pumping capacity. In 2003, the target outlet temperature for the preheaters was set at 20 degrees C. This paper also described the challenges regarding water temperature, water pressure and maintenance issues. The innovative solutions used to overcome them have lead to energy costs savings of about $60,000 per month. Syncrude is currently exploring whether water can be preheated higher than 20 degrees C. 2 figs.

  10. Characterization and evaporation of Pina crude oil spilled at sea and on beach sand

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The physical and chemical properties of Pina crude oil are analyzed, and the evaporation of this same crude oil spilled at sea and on calcareous type beach sand is described. The properties were analyzed for future uses in simulations of oil spills at sea. Among the parameters used in the characterization are specific gravity, viscosity, flash point, hydrocarbon groups, sulphur content, distillation, and interfacial and surface tension. In the evaporation process, the influence of layer thickness of crude oil and the influence of the height of the air chamber for the same thickness of crude oil at different wind velocities and conditions was of particular interest. The evaporated fraction was also correlated with the time and qualitative and quantitative variation of the components of the crude oil were studied by gas chromatography. The maximum per cent of evaporation over a 28 day period was 39 per cent at sea and 35.4 per cent when the same crude was spilled on sand. 5 refs., 6 figs

  11. Loadings of polynuclear aromatic compounds and metals to the Athabasca River watershed by oil sands mining and processing

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The contribution of oil sands operations to pollution in the Athabasca River has not yet been determined. Wastes from oil sands processes include recycled water, sand, silt, clay, bitumen, and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAC) and metals. Upgrading processes can also release significant quantities of PAC and heavy metals. This paper discussed a study in which PAC and metals in the snow pack and river water of the Athabasca watershed were assessed. The study showed that the oil sands industry is a significant source of contamination. The equivalent of 600 T of bitumen was observed at sites within 50 km of oil sands upgrading facilities. The strongest contamination signals occurred during the summer months, which suggested that the surface run-off of contaminated water was related to recent oil sands developments. Samples taken from tributaries in watersheds with little or no development indicated that increased concentrations of oil sands related contaminants were not caused by natural erosion. The contaminants may contribute to higher levels of mercury (Hg) and cadmium (Cd) in the flesh of fish and wildlife and increase toxicity to the embryos of spring-spawning fish.

  12. Economic benefits of carbon isotope fingerprint-logs used to determine source depths of migrating gas in heavy oil fields of Alberta and Saskatchewan

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rowe, D.; Muehlenbachs, K. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada); Jensen, E. [Amoco Canada Petroleum Co. Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada)

    1998-09-01

    A method by which to identify the sources of gas migration from wells in heavy oil reservoirs was presented. Natural gas migration to surface presents an environmental and financial liability in oil fields in Alberta and Saskatchewan, particularly in those fields that have very close well spacings. Traditional geophysical or logging techniques have been unable to identify the source of these undesired gas emissions. This study showed that the problem does not originate from the heavy oil reservoirs, but from the shallower overlying shales. In this study, isotopic profiles of gases extracted from drilling muds were used to identify two gas sources and their depth. The gases associated with heavy oils originated as thermal cracking products. The shale gases are a mixture of bacterial methane and traces of ethane, propane and butane produced by incipient thermal cracking. Carbon isotope fingerprint logs in heavy oil fields were found to be useful in assessing potential environmental risks and ensure that remedial efforts are more cost efficient. 2 figs.

  13. Sedimentological sand grain orientation in oil-producing U1 layer Kazan oil-gas-condensate field (Tomsk Oblast)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krasnoshchekova, L.; Cherdansteva, D.; Vologdina, I.

    2016-03-01

    The paper describes the results in identifying the prevalent directions of elongated quartz grains being the major oil-producing layer component in sand reservoirs. Studying the orientation of quartz to its grain shapes in paleogeographical oriented core samples made it possible to identify the hydrodynamic reservoir regimes and facies type. The spatial confinement of pore spaces and cataclasis fractures in grain material to the prevalent elongated quartz grain directions was defined.

  14. Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, regulatory highlights for 1998

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This new publication informs readers about what the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) did in the past year, including important regulatory issues, trends and initiatives. The EUB is an agency of the provincial government, established to regulate Alberta's energy resource and utility sectors. It is part of the Alberta Ministry of Energy. The four main functions of the Board are regulatory initiatives, license applications, enforcement and information. This publication summarized the EUB's position regarding flaring (both solution gas flaring and well test flaring), and Board activities in the areas of animal health concerns, the gas over bitumen controversy, the deregulation of the electric industry and what it means to the EUB, improvements in data quality as a result of improved industry compliance in reporting, and a variety of issues related to the oil sands and the negotiated settlement process. Also, the Board has been proactive in the area of oilfield waste management guidelines, proliferation policies for gas processing facilities, sulphur recovery guidelines, and the expansion of the orphan well program to include facilities and pipelines. As a measure of the success of the EUB, a recent survey of 19 randomly selected focus groups praised EUB for its impartiality, fair and equitable enforcement and independence. It was also praised for its technically competent and experienced staff, its access to quality information and the clarity of its mandate, regulatory requirements and processes. The Board's efforts in the area of timely stakeholder consultation was highlighted. tabs., figs

  15. Presentations of the CONRAD Research Symposium : oil sands water usage workshop

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This symposium provided a forum to exchange ideas regarding water use by the oil sands industry in Canada. The topics of discussion addressed timely issues such as corrosion control in pipelines, cumulative discharge modelling in the oil sands area, waste management schemes, the effects of potential limits on water withdrawal for thermal recovery operations and plant operations, the feasibility of geological sequestration of salts, and the impact of process-affected water on bitumen recovery. Other topics of discussion included tailings ponds management, deoxygenation of water, nanofiltration for water management, water quality for wetlands, water reuse, and water supply security. The conference featured 25 presentations, of which 17 have been indexed separately for inclusion in this database. tabs., figs

  16. Technology Options and Integration Concepts for Implementing CO2 Capture in Oil-Sands Operations

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ordorica-Garcia, G.; Nikoo, M. [Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, Edmonton, Alberta (Canada); Carbo, M. [Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands ECN, Petten (Netherlands); Bolea, I. [Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza (Spain)

    2012-09-15

    The majority of the technology development for CO2 capture and storage (CCS) is driven by the electric-utility industry, in which the emphasis is on large centralized units for electric-power generation with coal as the primary fuel. The implementation of CCS in oil-sands operations has significant potential to provide meaningful carbon-emissions reductions. This paper presents various concepts for integrating leading CO2-capture techniques to bitumen-extraction and -upgrading processes. The main carbon-capture technologies are reviewed, and their relative advantages and disadvantages for implementation in bitumen mining, thermal bitumen extraction, and bitumen upgrading are discussed, leading to a qualitative assessment of their suitability for each oil-sands process.

  17. Applicability of small fast reactor '4S' for oil sands recovery

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    '4S' (Super-Safe, Small and Simple) is a small-sized sodium cooled reactor with a reflector controlled long life core. Concept of steam production plant consisting of the 4S with a thermal rating of 135 MWt for a typical SAGD (Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage) plant was established. The 4S, provided for oil sands recovery, will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emission and has applicability to oil sands plant. The burden for development and licensing will be reduced in tie-ups with development and licensing program for the 4S with a thermal rating of 30MWt which is now in a process of pre-application review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (author)

  18. Quality of groundwater in the Agbabu oil sands area of the Ondo State, Nigeria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ajayi, Owolabi

    1998-08-01

    The Agbabu area is currently the focus of geological investigations for oil sands by several multinational companies. Mining and associated activities will require substantial quantities of water, hence the aim of this study is to evaluate the groundwater quality in the area. Total dissolved solids in the range 1260-1460 mg I -1 exceed the upper limit of 1000 mg I -1 for fresh water, and indicate brackish, non-potable water. Using relevant indices, the groundwater is found to be not suitable for irrigated agriculture and most industrial uses without further treatment. On the basis of dominant cations and anions, the groundwater is classified as a sodium chloride (NaCl) type. Detailed and systematic hydrogeological study of the entire oil sands area is recommended to provide information on the nature, origin, occurrence and quality characteristics of the groundwater found in this area.

  19. Carbon dynamics, food web structure and reclamation strategies in Athabasca oil sands wetlands (CRFAW)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This abstract provided details of the Carbon Dynamics, Food Web Structure and Reclamation Strategies in Athabasca Oil Sands Wetlands (CFRAW) program, a collaboration between oil sands industry partners and university laboratories. CFRAW researchers are investigating the effects of mine tailings and process waters on the development, health, and function of wetland communities in post-mining landscapes. The aim of the program is to accurately predict how quickly the reclaimed wetlands will approach conditions seen in reference wetland systems. The program is also examining the effects of hydrocarbons as a surrogate source of carbon after they are metabolized by bacteria. The biological uptake, pathways, and movement through the food web of materials used by the biota in constructed wetlands are also being studied. Flux estimates will be used to determine if wetlands amended with peat will maintain their productivity. A conceptual model of carbon pathways and budgets is also being developed.

  20. Dark horse : long in the shadows of clean energies such as wind and solar power, geothermal energy may be coming to Alberta's oil patch

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stastny, P.

    2008-05-15

    The growth of the geothermal energy industry in Alberta was discussed. Geothermal energy can be captured by drilling into the earth in order to mine its inherent heat, which is then converted into electricity by generating turbines driven by natural steam or binary fluids heated by hot geothermal water. Drilling costs are typically constitute a huge part of the costs associated with using geothermal energy. In Alberta, attempts are now being made to convert deep abandoned oil and gas wells with high temperature water to geothermal power generation in order to reduce the capital costs of standard geothermal projects. A research program is currently testing wells drilled below 2500 metres with bottomhole temperatures higher than 120 degrees C. The aim of the project was to create 2 to 3 MW of power for a new industrial park. Geothermal energy is also being used to provide base-load electricity generation. Enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) technologies can be deployed commercially on timescales that will produce more than 100,000 MW by 2050. The United States currently has 3200 MW of installed geothermal electricity generation. New Canadian prospects for geothermal electricity may be developed at sites in British Columbia located near hot springs. 1 fig.

  1. Microbially-accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. Pathway I: changes in porewater chemistry

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tariq eSiddique

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Dispersed clay particles in mine tailings and soft sediments remain suspended for decades, hindering consolidation and challenging effective management of these aqueous slurries. Current geotechnical engineering models of self-weight consolidation of tailings do not consider microbial contribution to sediment behavior, however, here we show that microorganisms indigenous to oil sands tailings change the porewater chemistry and accelerate consolidation of oil sands tailings. A companion paper describes the role of microbes in alteration of clay chemistry in tailings. Microbial metabolism in mature fine tailings (MFT amended with an organic substrate (hydrolyzed canola meal produced methane (CH4 and carbon dioxide (CO2. Dissolution of biogenic CO2 lowered the pH of amended MFT to pH 6.4 versus unamended MFT (pH 7.7. About 12% more porewater was recovered from amended than unamended MFT during 2 months of active microbial metabolism, concomitant with consolidation of tailings. The lower pH in amended MFT dissolved carbonate minerals, thereby releasing divalent cations including calcium (Ca2+ and magnesium (Mg2+ and increasing bicarbonate (HCO3- in porewater. The higher concentrations increased the ionic strength of the porewater, in turn reducing the thickness of the diffuse double layer (DDL of clay particles by reducing the surface charge potential (repulsive forces of the clay particles. The combination of these processes accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. In addition, ebullition of biogenic gases created transient physical channels for release of porewater. In contrast, saturating the MFT with non-biogenic CO2 had little effect on consolidation. These results have significant implications for management and reclamation of oil sands tailings ponds and broad importance in anaerobic environments such as contaminated harbors and estuaries containing soft sediments rich in clays and organics.

  2. Microbially-accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. Pathway I: changes in porewater chemistry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siddique, Tariq; Kuznetsov, Petr; Kuznetsova, Alsu; Arkell, Nicholas; Young, Rozlyn; Li, Carmen; Guigard, Selma; Underwood, Eleisha; Foght, Julia M.

    2014-01-01

    Dispersed clay particles in mine tailings and soft sediments remain suspended for decades, hindering consolidation and challenging effective management of these aqueous slurries. Current geotechnical engineering models of self-weight consolidation of tailings do not consider microbial contribution to sediment behavior, however, here we show that microorganisms indigenous to oil sands tailings change the porewater chemistry and accelerate consolidation of oil sands tailings. A companion paper describes the role of microbes in alteration of clay chemistry in tailings. Microbial metabolism in mature fine tailings (MFT) amended with an organic substrate (hydrolyzed canola meal) produced methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Dissolution of biogenic CO2 lowered the pH of amended MFT to pH 6.4 vs. unamended MFT (pH 7.7). About 12% more porewater was recovered from amended than unamended MFT during 2 months of active microbial metabolism, concomitant with consolidation of tailings. The lower pH in amended MFT dissolved carbonate minerals, thereby releasing divalent cations including calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) and increasing bicarbonate (HCO−3) in porewater. The higher concentrations increased the ionic strength of the porewater, in turn reducing the thickness of the diffuse double layer (DDL) of clay particles by reducing the surface charge potential (repulsive forces) of the clay particles. The combination of these processes accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. In addition, ebullition of biogenic gases created transient physical channels for release of porewater. In contrast, saturating the MFT with non-biogenic CO2 had little effect on consolidation. These results have significant implications for management and reclamation of oil sands tailings ponds and broad importance in anaerobic environments such as contaminated harbors and estuaries containing soft sediments rich in clays and organics. PMID:24711805

  3. Thermochemical method for the treatment of oil contaminated sand; Metodo termoquimico para tratamento de areia contaminada por oleo

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pimenta, Rosana C.G.M. [Fundacao Gorceix, Ouro Preto, MG (Brazil)]|[PETROBRAS S.A., Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil); Khalil, Carlos N. [PETROBRAS, Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil). Centro de Pesquisas (CENPES)

    2004-07-01

    In January 2000 there was a major oil spill in Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, which contaminated 2400 tons of sand. This work, based on NGS (Nitrogen Generating System) technology, was adapted for cleaning contaminated sand and recovering of spilled oil. NGS is a thermochemical method first developed for removal of paraffin deposits in production and export pipelines. The method is based on a strongly exothermic redox chemical reaction between two salts catalyzed in acidic pH. The reaction products are harmless to the environment and consist of nitrogen, sodium chloride, water and heat. By combining simultaneous effects of the treatment such as heating, turbulence and floatation, one can remove, within 98% of efficiency, spilling oil from contaminated sand. After treatment, removed oil can be securely returned to refining process. The method has proved to be efficient, fast, low cost and ecologically correct method for cleaning contaminated sand and can be applied in place right after a contamination event. (author)

  4. Papers of the Canadian Institute's 3. annual conference : oil sands supply and infrastructure : labour supply, upgraders, transportation, pipelines

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The focus of this conference was on the development of the oil sands industry, with specific reference to issues concerning supply and infrastructure. Energy source development and transmission issues were discussed, as well as transportation systems. The impact of increased oil sands development on pipelines was also examined. Various fuel options were discussed, including the use of hydrogen, natural gas and alternate fuels in manufacturing and processing plants. Economic drivers and the creation of new markets were examined, and various export opportunities were reviewed. The environmental impact of increased oil sands activity was discussed, with specific reference to the Boreal regions. Management challenges in the oil sands industry were also discussed along with issues concerning human resources, labour supply, training and education. The conference featured 15 presentations, of which 13 have been catalogued separately for inclusion in this database. refs., tabs., figs

  5. Optimization of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid System in a Sand Oil Reservoir in Southwest of Iran

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Reza Masoomi

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Fracturing fluid is one of the most important components of a hydraulic fracturing operation. Currently a lot of fluids are available for hydraulic fracturing. In order to selecting the most appropriate fracturing fluid for oil and gas wells with special characteristics, should be well understood fluid properties and should be informed about how changes in fluid properties to achieve the desired results. The aim of this study is optimization of viscosity and gel concentration in water base and foam base fluids which are used in hydraulic fracturing process in a sand oil reservoir in southwest of Iran. For this purpose various scenarios have been designed for various kinds of water base fluids and foam base fluids. Then the cumulative oil production has been estimated versus time and fracture half length. In addition the final required fracturing fluid and proppant have been determined for hydraulic fracturing in studied reservoir. Also in this study increasing the cumulative oil recovery in fractured and Non-fractured wells in a sand oil reservoir in southwest of Iran have been investigated.

  6. Sublethal effects of aged oil sands-affected water on white sucker (Catostomus commersonii).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arens, Collin J; Hogan, Natacha S; Kavanagh, Richard J; Mercer, Angella G; Kraak, Glen J Van Der; van den Heuvel, Michael R

    2015-03-01

    To investigate impacts of proposed oil sands aquatic reclamation techniques on benthic fish, white sucker (Catostomus commersonii Lacépède, 1803) were stocked in 2 experimental ponds-Demonstration Pond, containing aged fine tailings capped with fresh water, consistent with proposed end-pit lake designs, and South Bison Pond, containing aged unextracted oil sands material-to examine the effects of unmodified hydrocarbons. White sucker were stocked from a nearby reservoir at both sites in May 2010 and sampled 4 mo later to measure indicators of energy storage and utilization. Comparisons were then made with the source population and 2 reference lakes in the region. After exposure to aged tailings, white sucker had smaller testes and ovaries and reduced growth compared with the source population. Fish introduced to aged unextracted oil sands material showed an increase in growth over the same period. Limited available energy, endocrine disruption, and chronic stress likely contributed to the effects observed, corresponding to elevated concentrations of naphthenic acids, aromatic compounds in bile, and increased CYP1A activity. Because of the chemical and biological complexity of these systems, direct cause-effect relationships could not be identified; however, effects were associated with naphthenic acids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, ammonia, and high pH. Impacts on growth have not been previously observed in pelagic fishes examined in these systems, and may be related to differences in sediment interaction. PMID:25545538

  7. Development of a bioassay to assess the toxicity of oil sands sediments to pike (Esox lucius)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pike (Esox lucius) are a commercially sought fish species that inhabit the Athabasca River, which flows through the Athabasca oil sands. The fish are exposed to natural sources of bitumen from the McMurray formation. This study was conducted to design and implement a daily-renewal bioassay to assess the toxicity of oil sands to this fish species and to obtain information regarding the development of pike exposed to bitumen. Eggs were collected and fertilized with milt from spawning wild pike captured from Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan. The fertilized eggs were exposed to different concentrations of sediments or culture water only (negative controls) until complete yolk absorption of control fish, approximately 15 days post-hatch. For the rest of the experiment, brine shrimp were fed to the walleye embryos every day after hatching. The developing fish were examined for morphological deformities, survival, hatching success, and changes in weight and length. The research findings indicated that pike is less sensitive than walleye and fathead minnow to the toxicity of oil sands sediments.

  8. Application of forward osmosis membrane technology for oil sands process-affected water desalination.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiang, Yaxin; Liang, Jiaming; Liu, Yang

    2016-01-01

    The extraction process used to obtain bitumen from the oil sands produces large volumes of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). As a newly emerging desalination technology, forward osmosis (FO) has shown great promise in saving electrical power requirements, increasing water recovery, and minimizing brine discharge. With the support of this funding, a FO system was constructed using a cellulose triacetate FO membrane to test the feasibility of OSPW desalination and contaminant removal. The FO systems were optimized using different types and concentrations of draw solution. The FO system using 4 M NH4HCO3 as a draw solution achieved 85% water recovery from OSPW, and 80 to 100% contaminant rejection for most metals and ions. A water backwash cleaning method was applied to clean the fouled membrane, and the cleaned membrane achieved 77% water recovery, a performance comparable to that of new FO membranes. This suggests that the membrane fouling was reversible. The FO system developed in this project provides a novel and energy efficient strategy to remediate the tailings waters generated by oil sands bitumen extraction and processing. PMID:27120634

  9. Enlargement of fine particles in oil sands industry : flocculation and thickening

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Xu, Y.; Hamza, H. [Natural Resources Canada, CANMET Advanced Separation Technologies Laboratory, Devon, AB (Canada); Matthews, J. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Edmonton Research Centre

    2004-07-01

    Research efforts at Syncrude Canada Ltd. have focused on developing alternative tailings management and reclamation techniques and optimizing production efficiency and environmental sustainability by improving water and energy conservation. Bitumen from open-pit oil sands mines north of Fort McMurray are recovered by flotation circuits. This paper reviewed bench-scale and pilot scale tests conducted by Canada's Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology (CANMET) on thickened tailings technology. Tailings, flocculants and experimental procedures were outlined. The study provided insight into flocculation and thickening of caustic and noncaustic affected oil sand tailings. Caustic and noncaustic processes generate tailings with different water chemistries, which in turn affect the flocculation behaviour of the tailings. Caustic addition results in tailings with high pH because of the high bicarbonate content. The fine particles in noncaustic tailings are less dispersed. It was shown that oil sand fine tailings can be effectively flocculated using high-molecular-weight, medium charged anionic polymers. High settling rates were achieved with properly flocculated solids in caustic and noncaustic tailings. This enabled the recycling of warm water from the overflow. 11 refs., 11 figs.

  10. Development of a bioassay to assess the toxicity of oil sands sediments to pike (Esox lucius)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Turcotte, D.; Yuan, H.; Tumber, V.; Parrott, J. [Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON (Canada); Raine, J. [Saskatchewan Univ., Saskatoon, SK (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    Pike (Esox lucius) are a commercially sought fish species that inhabit the Athabasca River, which flows through the Athabasca oil sands. The fish are exposed to natural sources of bitumen from the McMurray formation. This study was conducted to design and implement a daily-renewal bioassay to assess the toxicity of oil sands to this fish species and to obtain information regarding the development of pike exposed to bitumen. Eggs were collected and fertilized with milt from spawning wild pike captured from Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan. The fertilized eggs were exposed to different concentrations of sediments or culture water only (negative controls) until complete yolk absorption of control fish, approximately 15 days post-hatch. For the rest of the experiment, brine shrimp were fed to the walleye embryos every day after hatching. The developing fish were examined for morphological deformities, survival, hatching success, and changes in weight and length. The research findings indicated that pike is less sensitive than walleye and fathead minnow to the toxicity of oil sands sediments.

  11. Fish gill responses to pollutants from oil sands mining-associated waters

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The processing of Athabasca Deposit oil sands results in large amounts of liquid wastes associated with oil sand tailings. In addition to containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), these waste waters are high in salinity and naphthenic acids which may be toxic to aquatic biota and their effects must be clarified. This study presents a suite of tests for in-depth and quick analysis of tailings water toxicity and contributes to the assessment of environmental risk. Yellow perch, fathead minnows, and rainbow trout were exposed to reclamation ponds where both in vivo and in vitro evaluation of crude and individual naphthenic acids and salts were conducted to examine their effect on fish gills which are very susceptible to contaminants. The fish exposed to the reclamation ponds showed higher incidence of gill pathological changes than control fish in Mildred Lake, a reservoir lake whose waters are diverted for use in oil sands extraction. Notable gill histopathological changes were observed when fish were exposed in vivo to sulfate/chloride salts and to abietic acid. Changes in membrane integrity, lysosomal activity and general morphology were observed when fished were exposed in vitro to salts, commercial napthenic acids or crude naphthenic extracts from the reclamation ponds

  12. US refining capacity for Canadian heavy oil : current overview and future potential

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This presentation provided an overview of the Canadian oil sands industry and investigated the potential heavy oil refining capacity of the United States. An outline of the first commercial developments of steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) in Alberta's oil sands was provided. Canada's reserves were compared with oil shale and heavy oil reserves in the United States and Venezuela. Influences of Canadian developments from western Canadian conventional crude oil were reviewed, and an oil sands production forecast was provided. Recent refining developments in the United States include delayed coking; catalytic cracking; fluid coking; flexicoking; and LC-fining. However, many oil sand producers are now choosing to upgrade oil, and producers are currently saturating United States markets with heavy crude oil. Canadian crude prices reached $90 per barrel in 2006. Heavy oil pipelines are now being constructed and existing heavy oil pipelines are being expanded. ConocoPhillips is planning to invest $1 billion for a new heavy oil coker, while BP is investing $3 billion for a heavy oil refinery in Indiana which plans to refine Canadian crude oil supplies. However, bitumens from Alberta are volatile in price, and excess Canadian production must be exported. Less than 10 per cent of western Canadian crude has tidewater access, and capital providers are concerned about cost over-runs. In order for the Canadian oil sands industry to succeed, refining capacity in the United States must be expanded, and open access must be provided to the Gulf coast as well as to the Pacific Ocean. tabs., figs

  13. Bridging the gap : with a new CHOPS simulation model leading the way, the Alberta Research Council is helping close the gap between the lab and the field

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Collison, M.

    2007-04-15

    Heavy oil is more difficult and costly to produce and refine than conventional light oil. Almost 50 per cent of the oil currently produced in Canada is classified as heavy oil. This article provided details of a heavy oil technology pilot project conducted by the Alberta Research Council (ARC) and Husky Energy. The ARC has now formed a steering committee of industry members to analyze new technologies and find ways to implement them. As part of their technology program, ARC hired, trained and placed an engineer with Husky Energy to execute a field application at Lloydminster of a heavy oil reservoir simulation software program. The biggest barrier to production in the Lloydminster play is the sand mixed throughout the viscous oil. In order to address the problem, Husky has spent 20 years developing a process known as cold heavy oil production with sand (CHOPS). The process employs a cavity pump which can tolerate extremely large amounts of sand in viscous oil. The pump has a corkscrew metal rotor placed inside a rubber covering, which rotates and pumps up the heavy oil, sand, natural gas, and water. The sand and oil are pumped into huge settling tanks which are heated by the natural gas that is stripped out of the oil. The sand sinks out the warm floating oil and settles in the tanks. Although it is very difficult to model a situation where sand flows from the reservoir along with the oil, ARC has developed a model of the process using data collected by Husky throughout its use of the CHOPS technique. A number of wells have been successfully modelled using the simulation tool. It was concluded that use of the CHOPS model has allowed researchers to test different operating strategies and extrapolate them to the field to predict possible oil production for various heavy oil recovery processes. 1 fig.

  14. Prediction of critical transport velocity for preventing sand deposition in gas-oil multiphase production and well systems

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bello, O.O.; Reinicke, K.M. [Technische Univ. Clausthal, Clausthal-Zellerfeld (Germany). Inst. of Petroleum Engineering; Teodoriu, C. [Texas A and M Univ., College Station, TX (United States). Dept. of Petroleum Engineering

    2008-10-23

    The critical transport velocity is one of the key parameters for gas-oil-sand multiphase production and well system design and safe operation. Existing American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice 14E (API RP 14E) for the sizing of multiphase flow systems suggests an equation to calculate threshold transport velocity. This equation only considers mixture density and does not account for factors such as fluid properties, gas-liquid flow patterns, sand loading, sand particle size, size distributions, shape factor and density. This work presents an improved computational methodology, which can be applied to estimate the critical transport velocity required to ensure efficient performance of gas-oil-sand multiphase production and well systems. The improved method is based on the modelling of three-phase gas-oil-sand pipe flow physics from first principle. Computations of the critical transport velocities show reasonable agreement with values calculated from mechanistic model (Danielson, 2007) for a relatively wide range of design and operating conditions. Compared with the mechanistic model (Danielson, 2007), the present method has no imposed limitations to the range of applicability. It is also takes into adequate account the effects of operating pressure, flow geometry, sand particle size, size distribution and shape factor, which have considerable influence on the critical transport velocity in gas-oil-sand multiphase production and well systems. (orig.)

  15. Canada's toxic tar sands : the most destructive project on earth

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This document addressed the environmental problems associated with tar sands development in Alberta, with particular reference to toxicity problems associated with global warming and the impending destruction of the boreal forest. The authors cautioned that the tar sand projects are highly destructive, leaving downstream toxics equivalent to that of a massive slow motion oil spill that has the potential to poison people. Negligent oversights by the government regarding the impact of tar sands development were also discussed, with reference to toxics on site; toxics downwind; and toxics down the pipe. The report also provided information on the future of tar sands development and global warming in Canada. It included a discussion of reverse alchemy; Canada's failed climate politics; a tar sands tax; and taking responsibility. Last, the report addressed toxic enforcement, including the Fisheries Act; Canadian Environmental Protection Act; Canadian Environmental Assessment Act; and Alberta law. It was concluded that while it is a stretch to believe the tar sands can truly be sustainable, there is a great deal that can be done to clean it up. The authors recommended that new tar sands approvals should wait until certain reform elements are implemented, such as passing a real carbon cap; using dry tailings; requiring wildlife offsets; cleaning up refineries and upgraders; ensuring Aboriginal control and benefit; and having regulation and independent monitoring. 104 refs., 6 figs

  16. Class I cultural resource overview for oil shale and tar sands areas in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    O' Rourke, D.; Kullen, D.; Gierek, L.; Wescott, K.; Greby, M.; Anast, G.; Nesta, M.; Walston, L.; Tate, R.; Azzarello, A.; Vinikour, B.; Van Lonkhuyzen, B.; Quinn, J.; Yuen, R.; Environmental Science Division

    2007-11-01

    In August 2005, the U.S. Congress enacted the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Public Law 109-58. In Section 369 of this Act, also known as the 'Oil Shale, Tar Sands, and Other Strategic Unconventional Fuels Act of 2005', Congress declared that oil shale and tar sands (and other unconventional fuels) are strategically important domestic energy resources that should be developed to reduce the nation's growing dependence on oil from politically and economically unstable foreign sources. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate alternatives for establishing commercial oil shale and tar sands leasing programs in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. This PEIS evaluates the potential impacts of alternatives identifying BLM-administered lands as available for application for commercial leasing of oil shale resources within the three states and of tar sands resources within Utah. The scope of the analysis of the PEIS also includes an assessment of the potential effects of future commercial leasing. This Class I cultural resources study is in support of the Draft Oil Shale and Tar Sands Resource Management Plan Amendments to Address Land Use Allocations in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and is an attempt to synthesize archaeological data covering the most geologically prospective lands for oil shale and tar sands in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. This report is based solely on geographic information system (GIS) data held by the Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs). The GIS data include the information that the BLM has provided to the SHPOs. The primary purpose of the Class I cultural resources overview is to provide information on the affected environment for the PEIS. Furthermore, this report provides recommendations to support planning decisions and the management of cultural resources that could be impacted by future

  17. Energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in upgrading and refining of Canada's oil sands products

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A model-FUNNEL-GHG-OS (FUNdamental ENgineering PrinciplEs- based ModeL for Estimation of GreenHouse Gases in the Oil Sands) based on fundamental engineering principles was developed to estimate the specific energy consumption and GHGs (greenhouse gas emissions) for upgrading bitumen to produce SCO (synthetic crude oil). The model estimates quantity of SCO produced, the consumption of hydrogen, steam, natural gas and power in two different upgrading operations, namely delayed coking and hydroconversion. Hydroconversion upgrading is more energy and GHG (433.4 kgCO2eq/m3 of bitumen) intensive than delayed coker upgrading (240.3 kgCO2eq/m3 of bitumen) but obtains a higher yield of SCO. This research explores bitumen pathways in oil sands – upgrading bitumen to SCO, followed by transporting and refining SCO as compared to transporting and refining dilbit. The energy consumption, GHG emissions and volume of transportation fuels obtained from refining of different oil sands feeds has been investigated. Refining of oil sands products produce 7.9 to 15.72 gCO2eq per MJ of refined product. Refining of SCO to transportation fuels produces 41% and 49% less emissions than dilbit and bitumen respectively. - Highlights: • A model to estimate energy consumption and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions in the oil sands is presented. • The model is developed from fundamental engineering principles. • Upgrading and refining of bitumen in oil sands is explored. • Upgrading of bitumen produces 240.3 and 433.4 kgCO2eq GHGs per m3 of bitumen. • Refining of oil sand products produces 7.9 to 15.72 gCO2eq per MJ of refined product

  18. Risk Assessment for Children Exposed to Beach Sands Impacted by Oil Spill Chemicals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jennifer C. Black

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Due to changes in the drilling industry, oil spills are impacting large expanses of coastlines, thereby increasing the potential for people to come in contact with oil spill chemicals. The objective of this manuscript was to evaluate the health risk to children who potentially contact beach sands impacted by oil spill chemicals from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. To identify chemicals of concern, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s monitoring data collected during and immediately after the spill were evaluated. This dataset was supplemented with measurements from beach sands and tar balls collected five years after the spill. Of interest is that metals in the sediments were observed at similar levels between the two sampling periods; some differences were observed for metals levels in tar balls. Although PAHs were not observed five years later, there is evidence of weathered-oil oxidative by-products. Comparing chemical concentration data to baseline soil risk levels, three metals (As, Ba, and V and four PAHs (benzo[a]pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, and dibenz[a,h]anthracene were found to exceed guideline levels prompting a risk assessment. For acute or sub-chronic exposures, hazard quotients, computed by estimating average expected contact behavior, showed no adverse potential health effects. For cancer, computations using 95% upper confidence limits for contaminant concentrations showed extremely low increased risk in the 10−6 range for oral and dermal exposure from arsenic in sediments and from dermal exposure from benzo[a]pyrene and benz[a]anthracene in weathered oil. Overall, results suggest that health risks are extremely low, given the limitations of available data. Limitations of this study are associated with the lack of toxicological data for dispersants and oil-spill degradation products. We also recommend studies to collect quantitative information about children’s beach play habits, which are

  19. Water, Energy and Carbon Balance Research: Recovery Trajectories For Oil Sands Reclamation and Disturbed Watersheds in the Western Boreal Forest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petrone, R. M.; Carey, S. K.

    2014-12-01

    The Oil Sand Region (OSR) of North-Central Alberta exists within the sub-humid Boreal Plains (BP) ecozone, with a slight long-term moisture deficit regime. Despite this deficit, the BP is comprised of productive wetland and mixed wood (aspen and conifer dominated) forests. Reclamation activities are now underway at a large number of surface mining operations in the OSR, where target ecosystems are identified, soil prescriptions placed and commercial forest species planted. Some watersheds have been created that now contain wetlands. However, recent work in the BP suggests that over time wetlands supply moisture for the productivity of upland forests. Thus, water use of reclaimed forests is going to be critical in determining the sustainability of these systems and adjacent wetlands, and whether in time, either will achieve some form of equivalent capability that will allow for certification by regulators. A critical component in the success of any reclamation is that sufficient water is available to support target ecosystems through the course of natural climate cycles in the region. Water Use Efficiency (WUE), which links photosynthesis (GEP) with water use (Evapotranspiration (ET)), provides a useful metric to compare ecosystems and evaluate their utilization of resources. In this study, 41 site years of total growing season water and carbon flux data over 8 sites (4 reclamation, 4 regeneration) were evaluated using eddy covariance micrometeorological towers. WUE shows clear discrimination among ecosystem types as aspen stands assimilate more carbon per unit weight of water than conifers. WUEs also change with time as ecosystems become more effective at transpiring water through plant pathways compared with bare-soil evaporation, which allows an assessment of ability to limit water loss without carbon uptake. In addition, clonal rooting systems allow aspen forests to recover quicker after disturbance than reclamation sites in terms of their WUE. For reclamation

  20. Athabasca oil sands process water: characterization by atmospheric pressure photoionization and electrospray ionization fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barrow, Mark P; Witt, Matthias; Headley, John V; Peru, Kerry M

    2010-05-01

    The Athabasca oil sands in Canada are a less conventional source of oil which have seen rapid development. There are concerns about the environmental impact, with particular respect to components in oil sands process water which may enter the aquatic ecosystem. Naphthenic acids have been previously targeted for study, due to their implications in toxicity toward aquatic wildlife, but it is believed that other components, too, contribute toward the potential toxicity of the oil sands process water. When mass spectrometry is used, it is necessary to use instrumentation with a high resolving power and mass accuracy when studying complex mixtures, but the technique has previously been hindered by the range of compounds that have been accessible via common ionization techniques, such as electrospray ionization. The research described here applied Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry in conjunction with electrospray ionization and atmospheric pressure photoionization, in both positive-ion and negative-ion modes, to the characterization of oil sands process water for the first time. The results highlight the need for broader characterization when investigating toxic components within oil sands process water. PMID:20359201