Laricina Energy Ltd., Calgary, has begun injecting steam into two well pairs at its Germain commercial demonstration project (CDP) in the western Athabasca oil sands region of Alberta.
The company has completed 10 well pairs for steam-assisted gravity drainage at the project, design capacity of which is 5,000 b/d.
Laricina expects this year to receive regulatory approval for two other development phases, which would add 150,000 b/d of production capacity. The company says capacity eventually might reach 205,000 b/d.
Production is from the Lower Cretaceous Grand Rapids formation.
At the CDP, Laricina will continue a staged start-up with steam circulating through three well pairs that have producing wells completed in a thin layer of water at the bottom of the bitumen zone. As the start-up progresses, it will begin steaming four other well pairs with producing wells in bitumen rather than basal water.
It plans to compare performance of basal-water and non-basal-water wells. It will bring remaining well pairs online as needed to sustain production.
Laricina also plans to begin injecting solvent in four active well pairs early in 2014 in a technique it calls solvent cyclic SAGD (SC-SAGD). Other well pairs will remain on SAGD to provide baseline data.
With production rates differing for SC-SAGD and SAGD wells and with typical downtime, sustained production will be about 75% of the CDP’s design capacity rate, Laricina says. The project will reach sustained production 12-18 months from start-up.
Bitumen production is expected to start in the third quarter this year.