Syncrude lets oil sands tailings contracts

Syncrude Canada Ltd. has let two contracts to KBR for module fabrication and field construction of a full-scale plant for processing tailings from its oil sands mines northeast of Fort McMurray, Alta.

The plant will dewater fine tailings with centrifuges in a process that Syncrude says reduces overall volume by 50% or more. The process yields a soft, clay-rich material that can be used in land reclamation. Water is recycled for plant operations.

The new facility will represent the first phase of a commercial plant due in operation by 2015.

Centrifuging technology is one of Syncrude’s responses to a 2009 directive on tailings management by the Energy Resources Conservation Board of Alberta (OGJ Online, Dec. 2, 2009).

Other tailings-management methods Syncrude is developing include water-capping, in which fresh water is deposited over tailings in a settling pond to form a lake, and composite tails, in which the addition of gympsum and sand accelerates the settling of fine tails.

Tailing ponds hold the mixture of water, solids, and other fluids left over from the initial processing of mined oil sands. Because fine tailings settle out slowly, cycling of tailing ponds can require decades. In the meantime, more tailing ponds must be built, requiring more surface disturbance.

The ERCB’s tailings-management directive addressed that problem. Earlier this year a study conducted for Alberta Innovates—Energy and Environment Solutions, a government agency, by an industry consortium outlined nine “roadmaps” for tailings management (OGJ Online, Aug. 31, 2012).

Related Articles

Ember to acquire Clearwater assets for $605 Million (Can.)

10/08/2014 Ember Resources Inc., Calgary, has agreed to acquire the majority of the Clearwater assets in southern and central Alberta belonging to Encana Corp...

Chevron Canada to sell 30% in Duvernay shale to Kufpec Canada for $1.5 billion

10/06/2014 Chevron Corp. said its Chevron Canada Ltd. unit plans to sell a 30% interest in its Duvernay shale play to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co....

MEG Energy files OSCA application with AER for Surmont oil sands project

10/03/2014 MEG Energy Corp., Calgary, has submitted an Oil Sands Conservation Act application with Alberta Energy Regulator for its Surmont steam-assisted gra...

US, UAE energy agreement to focus on five areas

10/03/2014 A memorandum of understanding signed by the US and the United Arab Emirates will focus on five areas: energy policy formulation, energy efficiency,...

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected