ConocoPhillips Canada
  • Who We Are
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    Who We Are

    ConocoPhillips is the world's largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company.

    Canadian Leadership

    Learn more about our Canadian leadership. GO

    ConocoPhillips Global

    The world’s largest independent exploration and production company. GO

    Policies

    Setting the standards for our business. GO

    Our History

    Our legacy in Canada goes back over 100 years. GO

    Collaboration

    Working with others to meet today's energy challenges. GO

    SPIRIT Values

    The values we work and live by. GO

    Positions

    Our global positions. GO

  • Our Operations
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    Our Operations

    Our world-class portfolio includes assets in Western Canada, the oil sands in northern Alberta and Canada's Arctic.

    Canadian Arctic

    We explore for assets in the far North. GO

    Western Canada

    We produce natural gas and gas liquids from Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. GO

    Oil Sands

    We produce heavy oil from the Athabasca region. GO

  • Technology & Innovation
  • Sustainable Development
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    Sustainable Development

    Sustainable Development is about conducting our business to promote economic growth, a healthy environment and vibrant communities, now and into the future.

    Sustainable Development Portal

    Read our online sustainability report. GO

  • In Our Community
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    In Our Community

    We believe in fostering long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships with our stakeholders.

    Community Investment

    We provide support for individuals and organizations. GO

    Stakeholder Engagement

    We work collaboratively with local communities. GO

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.

Oil sand is a mixture of bitumen, sand and water. Because it does not flow like conventional crude oil, it must be mined or heated underground before it can be processed.

The hydrocarbon resource found in Canada’s oil sands is called bitumen. Bitumen is very viscous – it doesn’t flow like conventional crude oil — and therefore requires special extraction methods to get it out of the ground and into a state where it is fluid enough for transportation to refineries. Once processed, the extracted oil sands bitumen is then refined into gasoline and other hydrocarbon products, just like any other oil resource.

While approximately 20 percent of total recoverable oil sand reserves are close enough to the surface to be recovered through surface mining, the vast majority of oil sands deposits — and all ConocoPhillips Canada’s reserves — average depths of 1,300 feet below the surface. In-situ recovery techniques, such as steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) have to be used to extract these deep deposits of bitumen without removing the soil and materials above it.

SAGD involves injecting high-temperature steam underground through a horizontal well to melt the bitumen, allowing it to flow to an adjacent horizontal well. From there, it is pumped to the surface for further processing. These pairs of horizontal wells are drilled from a central well pad in order to minimize land disturbance. Steam injection and oil production happen continuously and simultaneously. The resulting mixture of bitumen and water (which is condensed from the steam) is then piped from the producing well to a nearby upgrading plant, where the bitumen is separated from the water and treated. The produced water is then recycled to steam generators to generate new steam, which then travels through above-ground pipelines back to the wells for injection. The produced bitumen is treated to create a synthetic crude oil that can be transported to a refinery.  Alternatively, bitumen may be mixed with a diluent (usually natural gas condensate) to create a blend that can be transported via pipeline to refineries.