High-Pressure CSS Challenges

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High-Pressure CSS Challenges

John Belgrave

Calgary Alberta, Canada John Belgrave Posts: 121

Satellite imagery data from RADARSAT-2 used by the Canadian federal government to review a major bitumen leak in 2013 in Alberta indicates the project’s steam-based extraction caused “measurable levels of ground deformation in the area of the leak” at a rate 10 times faster than other oilsands operations. These satellite observations from Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) high-pressure cyclic steam stimulation (CSS) operations at Primrose, Northeast Alberta, are raising concerns around the safety of bitumen extraction and potential for contaminating local groundwater. Ground deformation (both subsidence and uplift) between 2009 and 1013, were often in the range of 10-30 centimetres over various sampled 24-day periods. This rate of ground deformation is reportedly 10 times faster than changes observed in the Fort McMurray area, which uses the lower-pressure steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) method. More than one million litres of bitumen has seeped to the surface from the major leak, which still continues several months later, albeit very slowly during the winter months. There have been at least three other separate, much smaller, leaks to the surface reported at different locations in CNRL’s Primrose operations. As of Jan. 10, 69,700 tons of impacted soil and vegetation had been removed from all the leak sites. CNRL has since been ordered to halt its steaming operations at the site of the leaks. References http://www.canada.com/technology Safety+bitumen+extraction+questioned/9460003/story.html

Post updated at Sunday 9th of February 2014 5:07:41 PM.

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