Suncor, GE aim to reduce GHG emissions, water usage in oil sands

Suncor Energy Inc., Calgary, and GE have signed two agreements that aim to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water usage in the oil sands.

The agreements, which involve other members from Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), could result in investments totaling as much as $18 million.

One agreement is for an oil sands water treatment pilot project that would reduce water use, energy consumption, and GHG emissions, as well as operating costs.

The steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) Produced Water Treatment pilot project is expected to cost $20 million in total, including $5 million in new funding, and is currently running at Suncor’s MacKay River facility, following preliminary lab work dating back to late 2011.

The pilot is testing technology so water can be treated more efficiently, and to increase reuse of water within the in situ process.

Suncor says additional support from COSIA members will help extend the pilot’s testing phases to obtain more data, allow for additional laboratory-scale testing to further refine the processes involved in the pilot, and enable the improvements to be shared across the oil sands sector.

Six COSIA members have also signed a memorandum of understanding to pursue other joint industry projects, with investment of up to $13 million, that would further aim to reduce GHG emissions and advance water treatment technology.

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