Cogeneration plants at our oil sands sites
What is cogeneration?
Cogeneration, or cogen, means producing steam and electricity at the same time from the same source. At Cenovus, we use natural gas to power a combustion turbine that generates electricity. This electricity is used to power our operations. At the same time, the exhaust heat from the turbine is used by our steam generators to reduce the amount of natural gas needed to heat water to produce steam. The steam is injected into our wells to melt the thick oil deep underground in our steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operations so it can be pumped to the surface.
When we produce more electricity than we need, we sell the surplus to Alberta’s electrical grid for use by residents and businesses. Electricity from our cogeneration plants help reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions in the province because they create fewer emissions than coal-fired power.
Our cogeneration plants
We have two cogen plants at our operations which ensure we have a reliable power source available at all times. Our first cogen plant is located at our Foster Creek facility and has been operational since 2003 with a maximum capacity of 98 MW. The second, which we started commissioning in July 2016, is at our Christina Lake facility and has a maximum capacity of 100 MW.
We expect cogeneration will continue to be an important part of our future oil sands development and will help us further reduce our overall emissions intensity.