Alberta oil sands project partners award gas turbine supply contract

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, May 21 -- Joint venture partners Nexen Inc. and OPTI Canada Ltd., both of Calgary, awarded a contract to GE Energy, a division of General Electric Co., Atlanta, for the supply of gas turbines for the JV's Long Lake oil sands project in Alberta.

The turbines are part of an integrated gasification-cogeneration plant being constructed by the JV near Fort McMurray, Alta. The Long Lake facility is the fourth largest integrated oil sands project in the province of Alberta, GE Energy said.

GE will supply two Frame 7EA gas turbine generators, field installation technical services, and unit training. "These machines will be the first gas turbines in Canada to use syngas as the primary fuel, and the project also marks the first use of syngas-fired gas turbines in a steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) oil production facility," GE Energy noted.

For this in situ oil sands recovery project, OPTI Canada's OrCrude upgrader process will produce a heavy liquid asphaltene byproduct for a gasification process. The process then will produce clean syngas as fuel for the cogeneration plant and hydrogen production facilities. Nexen will operate the cogeneration facility, while OPTI Canada will operate the gasification facility.

The turbines are designed for dual-fuel operation, GE Energy explained, which means they are able to switch from one fuel to another, or cofire both fuels, while running under load.

The Long Lake project's first phase will reach production of 72,000 b/d of SAGD oil production; an integrated upgrader, meanwhile, will yield about 60,000 b/d of sweet premium synthetic crude.

The gas turbines will produce power and steam for heavy oil recovery operations in the SAGD plant. The two units will be site-rated at about 80 Mw each, and will use steam injection for NOx control. Natural gas will be used as backup fuel.

The units are to be shipped during first quarter 2006 with commercial operation slated to start in fourth quarter 2006.

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