Reducing steam, not momentum, on emissions reduction

Construction underway on oil sands technology pilot.

Imperial and Suncor are collaborating to advance an oil sands in situ technology designed to improve both environmental and economic performance by using less steam.

The companies are working together to advance a field trial of Enhanced Bitumen Recovery Technology – also known as EBRT. The process, developed by Imperial, uses a light hydrocarbon to replace most of the steam used – resulting in a reduction of water use by as much as 90 percent, compared to current methods.

Collaboration will accelerate the development of this technology for commercial use. The pilot is a 50-50 joint investment.

Up to

60% ↓ in GHG emissions intensity

compared to conventional steam-assisted, gravity drainage (SAGD) production methods
It is wonderful to see years of research, conducted by the team at Imperial’s Calgary-based Upstream Research Centre, being tested at scale. EBRT is an exciting technology that can deliver multiple benefits for our operations and the environment.
Mark Beckman

In Situ Research Manager, Imperial

Alternatives to steam are key to increasing energy efficiency and reducing water use from oil sands operations. Based on Imperial’s research, it is expected the EBRT technology could reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity from oil sands in situ extraction facilities by approximately 60 percent compared to conventional steam-assisted, gravity drainage (SAGD) production methods.

The field trial is expected to start up by 2027 on Imperial’s Aspen lease and will test EBRT’s potential to deliver higher bitumen production rates, lower greenhouse gas emissions and enable recovery from reservoirs not previously considered viable.

This is an exciting project. We value our relationship with Imperial in paving the way for energy-efficient methods.” - Chris Baker, Manager Development Engineering, Suncor.

EBRT pilot site blessing

An Elder from the Fort McMurray First Nation #468 led a smudging and blessing at the EBRT pilot site

Many familiar with starting a meal with a blessing may not know that a blessing is also important prior to the start of a major construction project in the oil sands.

On February 13, an Elder from Fort McMurray First Nation #468 led a smudging and blessing at the EBRT pilot site. Members of the Centrefire Energy Group, an Indigenous-owned business who will be completing site clearing work, also attended along with Imperial personnel.