An oil sands project
Narrows Lake is expected to be our third producing oil sands project. Located near our Christina Lake project, 150 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray, Narrows Lake will use the same steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) technology already used at our two other oil sands projects (Christina Lake and Foster Creek). SAGD is a process that uses steam to separate oil from sand that’s deep underground so it can be pumped to the surface.
In addition to using SAGD technology, the Narrows Lake project will also employ another technology that will help us reduce our impact on the environment while increasing the amount of oil we’re able to recover. It’s expected to be the industry’s first project to use a solvent aided process (SAP) with butane on a commercial scale. SAP is a modification of SAGD, which involves adding a solvent to the steam injected into the reservoir to thin the oil and allow it to flow more freely to the producing well. Butane, the solvent we use, is a non-toxic, naturally-occurring natural gas liquid. SAP allows us to use less steam overall, which means we use less water and we burn less natural gas to create steam, which reduces our greenhouse gas emissions.
Narrows Lake was under construction in early 2015, however, in response to the substantial decline in crude oil prices, we decided to defer further work on Narrows Lake for now. Just like our Christina Lake and Foster Creek projects, Narrows Lake is part of our 50/50 joint venture with ConocoPhillips.