ConocoPhillips Canada

Unconventional

Surmot, SAGD, oilsands
Our business keeps changing, so we keep changing the way we do business. Many hydrocarbon resources can be extracted using traditional techniques that the industry has been using, in one form or another, for over a hundred years. Other unconventional resources, such as oil and gas trapped in shale and tight sand formations, require advanced technology, innovative processes, and new thinking.

The steam-assisted gravity drainage recovery technique we use at our Surmont facility requires the production of steam using large boilers called once-through steam generators, or OTSGs. Gas turbine once-through steam generators, or GT-OTSGs, integrate natural-gas powered turbines with the OTSGs in order to produce electricity at the same time as steam.  The steam is used for bitumen production, and the electricity produced is used to power the facilities. We’re currently piloting GT-OTSG technology at Surmont and, if successful, it could result in economic benefits, as well as reducing the environmental footprint.

By generating electricity with a natural gas powered turbine, GT-OTSGs reduce our operations’ reliance on electricity from the Alberta power grid. Since Alberta’s electricity grid is primarily supported by coal-fired power plants, GT-OTSG use will also reduce the overall carbon intensity of facilities. In addition, by coupling the gas turbine exhaust with the OTSGs, we could also reduce our N0x emissions.