Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada Siemens is the first equipment supplier to provide an entire water treatment plant (WTP) for a steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operation in the oil sands of Alberta, Canada.
Suncor Energy Inc.'s WTP at the Firebag Stage One SAGD site, northeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta, recently came online – almost three years after initial construction began. The US$4.5 million WTP system, provided by Siemens, consists of induced gas flotation, walnut shell filtration, warm lime softening and accompanying rake drive, post softening filtration, and primary and polishing weak acid cations.
Having a single-source supplier complete the full scope design, installation and service allows Suncor to focus on what it does best – produce oil. Such a supplier also reduces procurement costs and, with only one warranty contact, service is quicker and more responsive.
The project presented a series of challenges for Siemens and engineering firm Bantrel of Calgary, Alberta, including environmental and cost concerns, remote location and temperature fluctuations.
As Siemens is supplying the entire system, it is able to ensure that all technologies in the process train continuously perform within their set design criteria. If a problem does arise, the solution is determined on a system basis, not a component basis. The design also includes several feedback features, including a special package for valves that plug into the Programmable Logic Controller.
Siemens' system helps Suncor separate the oil and water during the bitumen extraction process. Using SAGD technology, Suncor injects steam into the uppermost of two horizontally stacked pipes to heat the oil zone and lower the viscosity of the heavy crude oil, or "bitumen." Gravity then causes the heated bitumen to flow into the lower pipe, where it is extracted. Bitumen is separated from water and, using USFilter's system, the latter is retreated and then recycled back into the steam generator.
Once fully operational in 2005, Firebag Stage One is projected to produce 35,000 bbl of bitumen per day and have the ability to recycle large quantities of water, helping to further Suncor's efforts as an environmentally conscious producer.
Suncor Energy Inc. is an integrated energy company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. Suncor's oil sands business, located near Fort McMurray, Alberta, extracts and upgrades oil sands and markets refinery feedstock and diesel fuel, while operations throughout western Canada produce natural gas. Suncor operates a refining and marketing business in Ontario with retail distribution under the Sunoco brand. U.S. downstream assets include pipeline and refining operations in Colorado and Wyoming and retail sales in the Denver area under the Phillips 66 brand. Suncor's common shares (symbol: SU) are listed on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.