This study fills a gap in assessing the potential of emerging technologies and processes to improve economic competitiveness and reduce emissions of oil sands operations. It provides a detailed quantitative analysis of supply cost and emission reduction opportunities for technological innovation in the oil sands in situ process over the short and medium terms. The assessment is performed at the production field level breaking down oil sands in situ process into seven segments: 1) Reservoir, 2) Wells and well pads, 3) Business management and data analytics, 4) Steam generation, 5) Waste and water treatment, 6) Pipelines and transport, and 7) Upgrading. More so, the technology configurations that meet minimum costs and emissions objectives can achieve potential reduction of bitumen supply cost by 34-40% and reduce fuel-derived emissions from in situ oil sands production by more than 80%.
Canadian Oil Sands Supply Costs and Development Projects (2016-2036)
Each year the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) publishes its long-term view for Canadian Oil Sands supply costs and production. This is the eleventh annual edition of CERI’s oil sands supply cost and development projects update. The plant gate supply costs, which exclude transportation and blending costs, are C$43.31/bbl for a SAGD project and C$70.08/bbl for a stand-alone mine. A comparison of field gate costs from the August 2015 update indicates that, after adjusting for inflation, the supply cost for a SAGD producer has fallen by 27 percent, and 6 percent for a stand-alone mine.
Total production from oil sands areas totaled 2.53 MMBPD in 2015, growing 9.6 percent year-over-year. Production from oil sands includes an increasing share of Alberta’s and Canada’s crude oil production. In 2015, non-upgraded bitumen and SCO production made up 62 percent of total Canadian crude production and 78 percent of Alberta’s total production.
In CERI’s High Case Scenario, production from mining and in situ projects is set to grow to 3.5 MMBPD by 2020 and 5.9 MMBPD in 2030, peaking at an all-time high of 6.6 MMBPD by 2036. In the Low Case Scenario, production rises to 3.3 MMBPD in 2020, 3.8 MMBPD by 2030 and 4.5 MMBPD by the end of the forecast period. CERI’s Reference Case Scenario provides a more plausible view of the oil sands production. Projected production volume will increase to 3.4 MMBPD by 2020 and 4.8 MMBPD in 2030, peaking at 5.5 MMBPD by 2036.