From Macquarie Equities Research (Feb, 2010), Game changing technologies: Driving down the cost curve In the longer term, we believe technology will drive down oil sands supply costs, akin to what horizontal wells and multistage fracturing did for shale gas. Technologies such as Petrobank’s THAI in situ combustion, E-T Energy’s electro-thermal reservoir heating, (ET-DSP™), and Ivanhoe Energy’s HTL each have the potential to provide a step change in the valuation of oil sands projects.
The oil sands company E-T is funding an expanded field test of the ET-DSP™ technology. As it takes little time to construct and bring wells on production, the company could be armed with a significant production history to support the validity of its technology as early as late 2010, but likely mid to late 2011
Macquarie reports that one of the challenges to date has been maintaining a circuit with the electrode, an issue the Company has addressed with an enhanced electrode design, new well completion, and advanced electrical cable. The next phase of testing will be within a commercial application so that definitive data on recovery factor, energy requirements (EOR [kW•hr/bbl]), and the production type curve can be obtained. The E-T process also requires a high well density per section, thus drilling / completion rig management will be critical in a commercial application, the logistics of which are being developed.
About this Site
Passion, Vision, Believe
This web page is about the ET-DSP story. It begins with a handful of passionate people that work well together. A tightly knit team that was able to take an idea, that evolved from laboratory testing, numerical modelling, and a few field tests to a commercial enterprise. Along the way there were mistakes, but we celebrated a lot of victories, and we continue to have a lot of fun. In some ways this is also a Case Study on the commercialization of a disruptive technology. We are still evolving and our culture, like fine wine, is becoming more and more valuable.
It was April, 1980. I had in hand an NRSERC scholarship, a dozen plus job offers, and an ambition to advance my studies in the field of bio-medical engineering. Dr. Vermeulen's fourth year electromagnetics final lecture changed my plans. He went on to share with his students that the Alberta oil sands had more oil then anywhere else in the world. The only way to extract the oil was to mine the overburden away and transport oil impregnated sand to massive processing and upgrading facilities. The separation process created an environmental problem called a tailings ponds, was likely never to be economic, and because of depth, mining only applied to a small fraction of the trillion or so barrels of bitumen. Electrical heating of the oil sands could change all of that.