Heavy Crude Oil

Heavy Crude Oil

Our heavy crude oil assets form a major component of Canadian Natural’s balanced portfolio approach to business. The development strategy of our heavy crude oil is based on low-risk exploitation anchored by our expertise in improved recovery techniques. This allows us to maximize heavy crude oil recovery and value from both mature and new crude oil pools.

Primary Heavy Crude Oil

Canadian Natural’s primary heavy crude oil operations are centered on the Alberta – Saskatchewan border, near the city of Lloydminster. The Company’s extensive and dominant land base allows us to conduct large scale drilling and development programs while minimizing our capital cost requirements. Costs are further managed through owning and operating centralized treating and sand handling facilities, maximizing their utilization and using our size to achieve economies of scale. Our infrastructure includes fifteen crude oil processing facilities and eight salt caverns for solids disposal. 100% ownership of the ECHO sales pipeline allows us to deliver undiluted heavy crude oil into our blending facilities at Hardisty, Alberta.

Our infrastructure and size gives us a significant competitive advantage in this area and our large inventory of drilling prospects leads to greater flexibility enabling us to react very quickly to changes in commodity prices or changes in capital allocation. Primary production typically recovers between 5% and 15% of the original oil in place, leaving a vast unrecovered resource that we feel will ultimately be exploited through advances in technology. Improving recovery by drilling infill wells in some pools, testing water flooding in others, and using horizontal and multi-lateral wells for specific applications are a few of the ways we are improving recovery factors. We are also evaluating several other technologies, such as polymer flooding and solvent injection.