Case Study: Solvent Enhanced Oil Recovery

Solvent technologies will have a significant role in creating value across all of our thermal operations on our journey to net zero in the oil sands. Our pilot at Kirby South tested solvent effectiveness to improve oil recovery in a steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) process, showing steam-to-oil ratio (SOR) and GHG intensity reductions of 45% through the pilot process, as well as solvent recoveries of ~85%.

Canadian Natural is now progressing with engineering and design of a commercial-scale solvent pad development at Kirby North, targeting first solvent injection in mid-2024. At Primrose, in the steam flood area, a solvent injection two-year pilot commenced in Q4 2021. This pilot consists of nine net wells (five producers and four injectors), targeting SOR and GHG intensity reductions of 45% and solvent recoveries of greater than 70%.

In typical SAGD oil production, water is heated to create steam that mixes with the bitumen and improves its viscosity so it can be pumped to the surface. When solvent is added, the SOR is significantly decreased.