TREVOSE, PA, June 10, 2008 -- The Great Divide Oil Sands Partnership has selected GE's produced water evaporator and zero-liquid discharge (ZLD) technologies to dramatically reduce the amount of water used at its Algar Oil Sands Project in Alberta, Canada and to help protect regional water resources. Combining advanced evaporator, crystallizer and dryer equipment from GE Water & Process Technologies, the system can recycle up to 98 percent of the water recovered from the steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) bitumen extraction process and eliminate all wastewater discharge to the environment.
The Great Divide Oil Sands Partnership, an affiliate of Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd., will leverage GE's global experience and research and development efforts in produced water evaporators and ZLD systems to incorporate a new energy-saving two-stage evaporation process. The new design, GE's second evaporator project with Connacher Oil, will reduce electricity demand by as much as 25 percent and significantly decrease plant size, compared to previous configurations. The process will also incorporate standard drum boilers to produce steam, which can reduce natural gas consumption by five percent over conventional once-through steam generators. With water savings potentially reaching 73 million gallons (276,000 cubic meters) per year, the system will play a significant role in reducing carbon and water footprints at the Algar Oil Sands Project.
The SAGD process is becoming more widespread in Canada's Alberta Oil Sands as the extraction of deeper bitumen reserves, which are beyond the reach of surface mining equipment, continues to increase. GE's thermal evaporators, crystallizers and dryers are used by six major companies in the oil sands, providing reliable, highly efficient produced water treatment and recycling for sites that extract as much as 60,000 barrels of bitumen per day. GE's fourth generation modular system, offering scalable and cost-effective performance, is currently being evaluated at significantly larger production sites, ranging as high as 200,000 barrels of bitumen per day.
"GE's broad portfolio of advanced water treatment technologies is playing an increasingly important role in helping oil companies protect water quality throughout the Alberta Oil Sands and reduce water demand," said William Heins, thermal products general manager, GE Water & Process Technologies. "Our continued investment in R&D and highly skilled support staff is creating a paradigm shift in the use of produced water evaporators and ZLD systems for SAGD bitumen extraction, providing both technical and economic advantages over conventional approaches."
At the Algar Oil Sands site, the produced water evaporator and ZLD system will be capable of treating up to 1,000 gallons (3.78 cubic meters) of produced water per minute, and will decrease makeup water requirements by more than 200,000 gallons (757 cubic meters) of water per day. Since nearly all of the water recovered from the extraction process will be reused, GE's ZLD system will also eliminate wastewater discharge to the environment by an equivalent amount.
GE's system design incorporates successive evaporation, crystallization and drying processes that separate clean water from impurities. The clean water is reused to make high purity steam for bitumen extraction, while impurities are reduced to dry solids. The robust process helps protect critical steam generators from any upsets in the de-oiling process and is capable of using lower quality, brackish water sources as make up water.
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