Pelican Lake Crude Oil
Pelican Lake is a world class asset within Canadian Natural’s portfolio. Pelican Lake is a large, shallow, contiguous heavy crude oil pool in our Northern Plains core region. Although initially developed with primary production, portions of the field were converted to water flood in 2004, resulting in a significant production increase which reversed the previous three years of production decline. Building on that success, we began testing polymer flooding in 2005. This enhanced oil recovery technique has proven to be much more effective than water flooding and as such, we converted more of the field to polymer flood. In late 2017, the Company added to its strategic position at this world class pool with the purchase of certain Pelican Lake assets capturing synergies in servicing and facility operations, as well as area management.
Polymer is a non-toxic chemical powder that we mix with water to create an injectable solution that has a viscosity similar to olive oil. The application of the polymer flood increases oil recovery since the thicker polymer solution improves sweep efficiency and reduces bypassed oil in the reservoir. Polymer flooding has the potential to increase ultimate recovery to approximately 28% of the original oil in place at a relatively low cost.
Since converting from primary production to the polymer flood requires us to re-pressurize the reservoir with the polymer solution, the full response from the polymer flood is typically seen 9 to 24 months from injection. As in any water flood, optimizing water handling is key to the process – polymer flooding is no different. We recycle more than 90% of our produced water, and we utilize brackish water to mix with the polymer.