Steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD)
It wasn’t that long ago that drilling in the oil sands was thought to be impossible. The oil in the oil sands can at times be as hard as a hockey puck and it’s embedded in tonnes of sand deep underground. We have to use a drilling method to get the oil out of the ground. It’s called steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD – pronounced SAG-DEE).
We’re a leader in the development of SAGD. We don’t mine or use large-scale excavation of the land. We don’t have big trucks. And we don’t have tailings ponds. We drill.
We currently have two producing SAGD projects in the oil sands – Christina Lake and Foster Creek – as well as several emerging projects.
Working to improve
SAGD isn’t a single solution – it’s a complex technology that will keep improving as innovative advancements are made. One of our ongoing objectives is to advance technologies that increase oil production using the smallest amount of water, natural gas, electricity and land. In fact, we have dedicated people working on multiple technology development projects in various stages. Some of the technology we’re implementing that improves SAGD include electric submersible pumps, flue gas recirculation, solvent aided process (SAP) and blowdown boilers.