This project was designed to demonstrate Petrobank’s Toe-to-Heel Air Injection (THAI™) oil sands recovery process in a field setting. The THAI™ process is estimated to recover 70-80% of the bitumen in place, with significantly lower operating costs, negligible fresh water use, 50% less greenhouse gas emissions, and a smaller surface footprint than other oil sands recovery processes currently in use.
The project was designed to produce up to 300 m3/day (1,800 bbl/day) of partially upgraded bitumen from the McMurray Formation of the Athabasca oil sands. Based on the Whitesands results, Petrobank planned a greenfield commercial THAI™ at May River, with a central processing facility. The first phase of the project is planned to produce 10,000 to 15,000 bbl/d of partially upgraded bitumen.
Whitesands project facilities include:
Ausenco provided full EPCM and commissioning support services for the pilot plant. Unique engineering challenges due to unknown process parameters were encountered and overcome.