Oil sands contain a mixture of sand, water, clay and bitumen, an extra-heavy oil that is too thick to be pumped without first being diluted or heated. In Canada, Chevron is using its vast resources of technology and expertise to help bring this energy source to market.
Chevron Canada has a 20 percent nonoperated interest in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project and a 60 percent operated interest in its Ells River heavy oil leases.
Athabasca Oil Sands Project
Chevron holds a 20 percent nonoperated working interest in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project near Fort McMurray, Alberta. Oil sands are mined from both the Muskeg River and the Jackpine mines. Bitumen that is extracted from the oil sands is transported by pipeline to the Scotford Upgrader near Edmonton, Alberta, where it is upgraded into synthetic oil using hydroprocessing technology. In 2015, average net daily synthetic oil production was 47,000 barrels.
Construction progressed during 2015 on the Quest Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Project, and the project was commissioned in the fourth quarter. The Quest Project is the first CCS project in the Canadian oil sands. This innovative project, approved in 2012 by the AOSP co-venturers, is designed to capture more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide annually from AOSP’s Scotford Upgrader, transport it approximately 50 miles (80 km) by pipeline and then permanently store it more than one mile (2 km) underground. This will reduce direct emissions from the Scotford Upgrader by as much as 35 percent -- equivalent to taking 250,000 cars off the roads annually.
Chevron Canada holds a 60 percent operated interest in heavy oil leases covering more than 85,000 acres (344 sq km) in the Athabasca region of northern Alberta. In 2009, the company completed the initial phase of appraisal activities on its Ells River leases. At the end of 2009, proved reserves had not been recognized for this project. Potential production would occur through the utilization of steam-assisted gravity drainage, an industry-proven in situ technology that uses steam and horizontal drilling to extract bitumen.