Cenovus initially began producing heavy grades of oil at Pelican Lake in 1997 from a series of horizontal wells in the Wabiskaw formation in Northern Alberta (west of our Foster Creek and Christina Lake sites). Over the years we've applied a number of innovative technologies including waterflooding and polymer injection with horizontal wells to the reservoir. Not only has that resulted in production rates of about 23,000 barrels per day, but it has also broadened our credibility as a leader in enhanced oil recovery.
At times during the producing life of an oil reservoir, any number of enhanced recovery techniques may be used to extract the oil. The long-life nature of this particular resource makes it ideal for our teams to continually develop new ways to improve both oil production rates and overall oil recovery. More recently, Cenovus initiated a hot water injection pilot to evaluate improvements of recovery rates in areas of the field that have higher viscosity oil. Additionally, we're evaluating the use of surfactants at Pelican Lake to supplement the polymer technology.
Our growth plans
We have plans for significant growth of our existing Pelican Lake Wabiskaw production as we expand our polymer enhanced oil recovery project. We have initiated a multi-year growth plan to increase drilling with production expected to reach about 55,000 barrels per day net by the end of 2016.
Grand Rapids potential
In December 2010, we drilled our first pilot steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) well pair in the Grand Rapids formation in the Greater Pelican Region. The pilot evaluated thermal recovery of this large oil resource and in 2011 we achieved first production at the Grand Rapids pilot. A regulatory application for commercial operation has been submitted. More details can be found on our Emerging Projects page.
Did you know?
Polymer is a gel material that is added to water to increase its viscosity. The higher viscosity water pushes the oil more uniformly through the fine-grain sands of the formation, increasing oil recovery. Polymers are commonly used in water and waste water treatment, food processing, drilling muds and soil conservation.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Cenovus presents production volumes on a net to Cenovus before royalties basis, unless otherwise stated.