Production from the Company’s bitumen-rich Leduc Formation – originally formed as a coral reef and characterized today by excellent porosity and permeability – is expected to utilize Thermal Assisted Gravity Drainage (“TAGD”), an innovative production technology employing downhole conduction heaters.
At December 31, 2012, an independent reserves and resources review, employing the industry-proven SAGD production technology, estimated that Athabasca’s Leduc carbonate trend contains 16.7 billion bbl of petroleum initially in place (of which 11.6 billion bbl is discovered) and 3.0 billion bbl of contingent resource (best estimate).In 2012, Athabasca’s “proof of concept” field tests delivered all of their objectives, confirming that the TAGD production technology could effectively heat the reservoir and mobilize bitumen to a production well, and paving the way to launching the TAGD Pilot/Demonstration Project.
Two TAGD production phases were conducted at Dover West during 2012 – the technology successfully mobilized bitumen at lower temperatures than those utilized in the SAGD production process. During these production phases, bitumen was mobilized at an estimated 70 to 90 °C, and 60 to 70 percent of the bitumen heated to greater than 80 °C was recovered. The conduction heating cables were fully operational throughout the field tests. Data obtained during the field tests have enabled Athabasca to model the deployment of this innovative production technology, simulating the production performance of a commercial TAGD project.In 2012, Athabasca commenced construction of its Heater Assembly Facility (“HAF”) near Strathmore, Alberta. The Company drilled a horizontal and a vertical well at the HAF, and assembled a downhole heater prototype for the TAGD Pilot/Demonstration Project.
Engineering and development plans progressed during 2012, and the regulatory approval process for the TAGD Pilot/Demonstration Project moved forward. Athabasca anticipates receiving regulatory approvals in 2013.
Dover West Sands Project 1
The Dover West Sands Project 1 is planned as a 12,000 bbl/d SAGD operation. Engineering and development plans progressed, during 2012, and Athabasca completed the construction of a 64-kilometre-long, all-season access road to the site.
Regulatory approval is expected during 2013.
- 240,000 acres (net) of stacked sand and carbonate reservoirs;
- 90 kilometres northwest of Fort McMurray.
Dover West Carbonates
- TAGD field tests demonstrated “proof of concept” for this innovative production technology, mobilizing bitumen to a production well;
- Conduct the third production phase of the TAGD field test during the winter of 2012-2013;
- Anticipate regulatory approvals, in 2013, for the TAGD Pilot/Demonstration Project;
- Complete construction of the TAGD Heater Assembly Facility near Strathmore during 2012-2013;
- 3.0 billion bbl of contingent resources (best estimate), based upon using SAGD production technology (at December 31, 2012);
- 16.7 billion bbl petroleum initially in place of which 11.6 billion bbl is discovered (at December 31, 2012).
Dover West Sands
- Anticipate regulatory approvals, in 2013, for a 12,000 bbl/d SAGD project;
- 87 million bbl of probable reserves and 2.9 billion bbl of contingent resources (best estimate) (at December 31, 2012)
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