Process Efficiencies of Unconventional Oil and Gas

Study Released July 02, 2015

Study No. 147

The Oil and Gas sector in Canada provides considerable economic benefits. However, production activities are costly and impact the environment. CERI has completed an assessment of various options to make these upstream activities more efficient. These process improvements could reduce cost and could reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

As the sector continues to grow, in particular in Western Canada, there is an increased need for production processes to become more efficient. This study looks at several options including:

• A mechanical lift strategy for in situ production that could reduce energy losses by 24%
• Modular construction techniques in SAGD operations that can reduce capital costs by over 50%
• Paraffinic froth treatment which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15% in oil sands mining and upgrading

Overall, there are many existing ways to increase the efficiency of upstream oil and gas production through best practices, although these gains are small in comparison to the increase in environmental impacts associated with sector growth. To offset impacts associated with sector growth the industry will have to explore larger scale technology changes.

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