Review starts of Laricina's Germain expansion

By OGJ editors

Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board has begun its review of applications by Laricina Energy Ltd. for expansion of the Germain commercial demonstration oil sands project in the west Athabasca region.

The expansion would increase production capacity in phases from 5,000 b/d of bitumen in an initial phase under construction now to 155,000 b/d.

Laricina plans to use a combination of steam-assisted gravity drainage and solvent-cyclic SAGD. It expects solvent injection with steam to lower the steam-oil ratio and carbon emission intensity.

The company filed expansion applications with ERCB and Alberta Environment and Water last November.

It expects steam injection to begin in second quarter of 2013 in the 5,000-b/d phase in progress.

The new applications cover a second phase with 30,000 b/d of capacity and third and fourth phases of 60,000 b/d each. Depending on approvals and financing, construction of the second phase could start in 2013, of the third phase in 2016, and of the fourth phase in 2018.

Laricina estimates cost of the second phase at $1.1-1.5 billion (Can.), most of which awaits financing.

The company says the main reservoir at Germain is the Grand Rapids formation, part of the Lower Cretaceous Upper Mannville Group. Encountered at an average depth of 225 m, the Grand Rapids is a clean sandstone with a homogeneous and continuous pay zone 10-25 m thick.

A secondary target is the Late Devonian Winterburn carbonate complex about 200 m below the Grand Rapids. Laricina says Winterburn development would use existing infrastructure and thermal recovery such as cyclic-steam stimulation or modified SAGD.

Laricina holds a 96% working interest in 17,920 hectares in the Germain area, which is 130 km southwest of Fort McMurray.

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