geothermal energy oil sands

Oil Patch – Canada’s Ambitious New Plan To Save Its Oil Sands

Oil Price recently published an article on Canada’s ambitious plan to save the oil fields. Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) has partnered with Eavor Technologies Inc. and C-FER Technologies to evaluate the potential for geothermal energy to help oil sands thrive for another 30 years.

Robert Mugo, COSIA’s Director of Greenhouse Gases, says “this is an exciting step forward in the potential application of this clean energy solution and one of several avenues of innovation that COSIA and its members are pursuing to support the sustainable development of the oil sands through reducing emissions.”

An assessment will be conducted on the feasibility of using geothermal as opposed to natural gas to heat water for mining. Oil Price suggests it, “could provide a way for Canada to reduce its carbon emissions in line with Paris Agreement and COP26 expectations without curbing its oil production.” This assessment is set to complete by early 2022 and can provide a way to lower greenhouse gas emissions from oil production while the demand for the energy source is still high.

Oil Price says, “This could be just what Canada’s oil industry needed, as oil sands typically require greater energy in the mining process due to the viscous nature of the substance, often leading to the release of higher levels of greenhouse gasses. The difficult extraction method means production often creates three to five times as many CO2 emissions per barrel of oil equivalent than other crudes.”

C-FER Technologies and COSIA previously provided an assessment that yielded promising results, and are hopeful that a second study will scale the project to a commercially viable level. The preliminary results suggest that it is possible to use Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) through the Eavor-Loop™ in oil sands extraction. C-FER believes Eavor’s technology “offers the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 kilotonnes of CO2 over a project lifecycle of three decades.”

Following the increase of international pressure to reduce carbon emissions, and canceled pipeline projects with the USA, Canada’s oil industry appears to be turning toward renewable energy companies to provide more sustainable production practices.

With oil and gas prices rising and the potential for reduced production over the next few decades, this could encourage consumers to turn to renewable energy such as geothermal technologies. This has presented Canadian oil companies with an opportunity to incorporate renewable energy into oil and gas production.

“In a strange way, these high prices have actually enabled a lot of our clients to pursue some of these transition-related issues more quickly than they otherwise would have.” – Mike Freeborn, Managing Director of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s Energy, Infrastructure, and Transition

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