Resource Innovations Inc. North America (RII) applied to the ERCB for approval of an experimental Solvent Thermal Resource Innovations Process (STRIP) oil recovery project in October.
The existing multi-well pads are 10 km west of Iron River on Devon's Manatokan project. The proposal calls for implementation in two stages, one stage per pad. The project would aim for 640 cubic metres of oil a day at peak production from the two wells that have finished with primary production. If approved, the project could be running by the end of 2011.
One of the proposed pads would fall on Alan Tkackuk's land. Tkackuk opposes the STRIP pilot project on his land and has been going door-to door to stop the project from gaining approval.
"I have every last neighbour in my area backing me up," he said. "Since when does the provincial government allow experiments underneath peoples' homes?"
RII will hold an information session next Tuesday, Nov. 16, at Sandy Rapids Hall between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
The experimental method would inject oxygen, fuel gas, and produced water down the hole through three passageways. Oxygen and fuel mix at the STRIP combustor where they auto-ignite, or an accelerant is added if needed.
The result is a “combustion cavity.” Water is added to the heat zone. The hot gasses and water make steam, increasing viscosity, and oil and water flow to the production well.
“You are still using steam as the method to recover the oil. You're producing it and delivering it much more efficiently to the reservoir (than SAGD or CSS),” project manager Jeffrey Schneider said.
He said cold heavy oil production is on the decline and that the pilot project would attempt to prove the capability of STRIP in secondary and tertiary production.
RII also filed a sour gas application that identified the relief zone as limited to the pad site. The plans call for vapour recovery units and one incinerator per pad on site to destruct H2S or other gases generated during production.
Tkackuk said the incinerators are one of the main reasons he opposes the project. "I'm not going to stay there with these incinerators burning off their toxic waste onto my lap.
"There's countless farmers that are counting on this water to be clean for their drinking, for their cattle, and this is going to produce toxins," he said.
The wells would be "re-completed" for high temperature. RII tested the wells and determined the surface and production casings are intact, and would insert a "sleeve" into production wells, "basically adding incremental barriers to ensure there are no failures," Schneider said.
He said the re-completed barriers and safety precautions would prevent seepage into aquifers.
Sandia, a U.S. research organization managed by Lockheed Martin for the government, University of Rhode Island, and Georgia Tech in the U.S., developed the recovery method in the U.S.
RII and Devon started a joint venture in 2009 to develop STRIP.