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

Warrego Energy signs farmout for tight gas field

02/28/2014 Warrego Energy Ltd., Perth, has signed a $40 million (Aus.) farmout agreement with Dutch exploration and production specialists Dyas BV and Mazarin...

Gas to play key role in curbing China’s pollution, official says

02/26/2014 China plans to develop more domestic natural gas supplies, including some from unconventional sources, and increase its gas imports to reduce its r...

IHS: Canada’s oil sands an economic boon for jobs

02/11/2014 Oil sands production is responsible for significantly boosting Canada’s jobs, economic growth, and government revenue, according to IHS CERA Oil Sa...

Apache plans further development for active Egyptian program

01/30/2014 Apache Corp. has applied for licenses to develop two recent discoveries in the Western Desert of Egypt, where drilling now includes horizontal well...

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