Africa (Sub-Sahara) Bowleven began drilling operations at its Zingana exploration well on the Bomono permit in Cameroon. Located 20 km northwest of Douala, Cameroon's largest city, the well will target a Paleocene (Tertiary) aged, three-way dip closed fault block. The company plans to drill the well to a depth of 2000 m and will then spud a second well in Moambe, 2 km east of Zingana. Bowleven is the operator and holds 100% interest in the license. Asia Pacific China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) has brought its Dongfang 1-1 gas field Phase I adjustment project on line ahead of schedule. The field is located in the Yinggehai basin of the Beibu Gulf in the South China Sea and has an average water depth of 70 m. The field is currently producing 53 MMcf/D of gas and is expected to reach its peak production of 54 MMcf/D before the end of the year.
ExxonMobil’s majority-owned Imperial Oil has made a final investment decision on its 75,000-B/D Aspen oil sands project, the first new oil sands development to be approved in 5 years. Construction on the $2-billion project, located 45 km northeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta, will begin in the fourth quarter, and bitumen production is expected to launch in 2022. Average output could be doubled to 150,000 B/D in future years depending on project performance and business and market conditions, Imperial said in a news release. Approval follows Western Canada Select crude oil prices sliding below $20/bbl as insufficient takeaway capacity has plagued the region. Adding to the glut has been Suncor Energy’s Syncrude oil sands facility, which recently returned to normal operating rates after a major power outage over the summer.
Development of oil sands in northeastern Alberta is an important contributor to the economies of both Alberta and Canada, but this type of hydrocarbon resource is often perceived by some as representing daunting environmental challenges. One particular area of stakeholder focus is the nature of the surface-land footprint associated with mineable oil-sands developments. This paper provides the facts and context of progressive reclamation in Canada's mineable oil-sands industry with a focus on the Kearl Oil-Sands Mine (Kearl) operated by Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Limited (Imperial). It demonstrates how progressive land reclamation has been integrated into the mine-planning process for Kearl from the outset of project planning and how the soil, overburden, groundwater, surface water, vegetation, and wildlife resources are considered throughout the life of the mine from a reclamation perspective. Nearly 22 000 ha of land will be disturbed during 40+ years of operation of the Kearl. Imperial is committed to progressive reclamation of the disturbed land throughout the life of the mine. As part of Kearl's long-term vision for reclamation success, Imperial is currently salvaging, segregating, and storing soil, and collecting and banking native seeds so that these valuable reclamation materials are readily available in the future. Ongoing mine-closure planning and the integration of progressive reclamation from the outset of the mine-planning process have identified opportunities, vulnerabilities, and technical constraints to mine closure.
This paper describes how it is possible to reduce or eliminate the need for dilution of heavy oil before transport in pipelines by partially upgrading in the field with a new technology utilizing molten sodium metal as a scavenger of sulfur, metals and acidity. The paper further describes how the technology works, experimental findings, other benefits of the technology and the development status.
Heavy oil with high viscosity and specific gravity requires dilution with naphtha or condensate to meet pipeline transport specifications. Naphtha often must be transported to the oil production site at great expense. A new technology promises to enable economic partial upgrading at scales in the 1000 to 25,000 barrel per day range. The process dramatically reduces specific gravity and viscosity enabling pipeline transportation with no or little diluent.
Molten sodium is brought into direct contact with sour heavy oil where it reacts with sulfur, metals and acid groups. The reaction is very fast enabling compact reactors. Sodium sulfide, a solid, is formed, separated and regenerated to sodium and elemental sulfur on site. All of the processes can be housed in pre-fabricated modular containers and transported to the production site for installation.
As mentioned, specific gravity decreases and API gravity increases, typically by 8-10 points. Viscosity is reduced by several orders of magnitude, especially at lower temperatures. Thus diluent requirements are reduced or eliminated, a logistical and financial benefit to producers. Asphaltene content is reduced. For example, pentane insoluble asphaltene is typically reduced by 60% and heptane insoluble asphaltene is reduced by 90%. There also is reduction in the resid fraction. The fraction boiling above 5240C typically is reduced by 35%. Sulphur levels are typically reduced by more than 90%. Metals such as nickel and vanadium are removed from the oil, typically over 98% and 99% respectively – and the metals are recoverable as elemental byproducts. In addition, the total acid number (TAN) is reduced nearly to 0, mitigating corrosivity in the pipeline and downstream processing units. All of these benefits occur typically with volumetric yield approaching 100%.
A key requirement of the process is ability to regenerate sodium from the sodium sulfide. Regeneration is conducted electrolytically at relatively low temperature, less than 1500C. Laboratory scale cells have operated over 13,000 hours with no deterioration. Elemental sulfur is an additional byproduct produced. An environmental benefit of the entire process is the total absence of sulfur oxide emissions – since no sulfur plant is required.
The Molten Sodium Upgrading process is not complex. The capital intensity and operating costs are expected to be much less than a coker/hydrotreating facility – especially at smaller scales. Overall, this technology is particularly well suited to to improving the economics of producing sour heavy oil where diluent is normally required for transportation to market.
The final step in the regulatory process related to C&R is the granting of a reclamation certificate. The application for a reclamation certificate requires the filing of documentation showing that all the approval conditions have been met and that through satisfaction of the approval conditions, the previously disturbed land has achieved equivalent capability. To date, one oil sands mine has received a reclamation certificate for land that has been permanently reclaimed: in March 2008, the GoA issued its first oil sands mining reclamation certificate to Syncrude Canada Ltd. for a 104 ha parcel of land known as Gateway Hill. Understanding the Environmental Setting/Condition The Kearl lease is situated in the Boreal Forest Natural Region of Alberta. Short summers, long, cold winters and vast deciduous, mixedwood, and coniferous forests interspersed with extensive peatlands (bogs or fens) characterize the Boreal Forest Natural Region (Natural Regions Committee, 2006).
John Donnelly, JPT Editor Initial forecasts for 2014 predict continued growth in global oil supply, relatively moderate demand, and a potential softening of oil prices. International events could change that picture overnight but, for now, the industry's three leading forecasters--the International Energy Agency (IEA), the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), and OPEC--are in agreement about what to expect next year. The boom in oil production--primarily from North American unconventionals--should lead to another year of global surplus, with supply outstripping world demand. Global demand will actually rise next year, but at a lesser rate than non-OPEC oil supply. In addition to the US, supplies are expected to increase from Canada, Brazil, and Kazakhstan.
ExxonMobil Development Company (EMDC) is in the project management business. The company currently manages a portfolio of more than 120 projects on five continents. Today's projects are often progressed in sensitive environments, against a backdrop of complex regulatory frameworks and fragile socioeconomic settings. The manner in which these risks are identified, assessed, and managed can significantly impact the success of a project and, importantly, its longer-term operations.
Engaging the hearts and minds of our project teams early on is the key to successfully managing these stakeholder risks. Just a few of EMDC's strategies described in this paper include:
• Leadership: Established a Socioeconomic Center of Excellence for all Upstream activities
• Process: Formalized a screening process during concept selection focused on environmental and socioeconomic
• Collaboration: Created an online "suitcase?? for project teams with key guidance, tools, and project examples
• Learning: Developed a flexible training framework for project management using targeted "leadership briefings??
Our strategies can help small and large project operators and contractors engage the hearts and minds of their own people, enabling them to tackle the evolving challenges of key stakeholder risks. The strategies apply in developed and developing countries alike, at either greenfield or brownfield locations, and under any fiscal terms.
The journey is ongoing but EMDC is seeing progress in managing this important aspect of our global business. The success of our work on Sakhalin Island has led to new resource opportunities across Russia. The Point Thomson Project on Alaska's North Slope has successfully deployed new practices and technologies to protect the environment. And while the world-class LNG project in PNG has been challenging on several fronts, these "heart and mind?? strategies are steadily taking root.
Environmental stewardship is everyone's responsibility at EMDC. With operations located around the globe, EMDC projects now take us into ultra deep water, dense rainforests, and sensitive cultural settings. How we conduct ourselves not only affects our license to operate, but determines how effectively we maintain and grow our social license to operate.
Accomplishing this begins by engaging the hearts and minds of our own employees and contractors. These are the people who are on the ground, making decisions and determining how projects proceed in these environmentally and culturally sensitive areas.
This paper shares our approach to creating a culture of sustainability and environmental stewardship within our own organization. Our hope is that these strategies help both small and large project operators and contractors create that same commitment to environmental protection and responsible development. By engaging the hearts and minds of its employees and contractors, a company can better tackle the evolving challenges of key stakeholder risks and achieve the vision of sustainability and responsible stewardship embodied in ExxonMobil's Protect Tomorrow. Today. initiative.