CALGARY — A new oilsands recovery technology envisions injecting cold water to mobilize whole sections of an underground formation — sand and bitumen alike — so it can be pushed to a well and sucked up to the surface.

Once there, the heavy oil would be separated using mining techniques and the cleaned sand reinjected into the formation to maintain pressure and continue to push the sand/bitumen/water slurry into a central producer well.

The process dubbed SHORE is touted as a potential “game changer” in a recent report into emerging technology trends in the oilsands by Calgary investment bank Peters & Co.

“The process is potentially capable of being applied in thinner and more geologically complex reservoirs that cannot be economically exploited by existing thermal processes,” Peters’ analysis reads.

“This could provide an option for development of shallow-to-intermediate depth bitumen resources.”

The report goes on to caution it will take “substantial time and capital” to prove commerciality and that it can be done safely and with acceptable levels of water use.

The technology is one of dozens being monitored by the energy technology branch of Alberta Innovates to assess and share with industry.

Source: Calgary Herald - See full article