Solvent-aided process (SAP)
Solvent-aided process or SAP for short, is a modification of steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), which involves adding a byproduct of natural gas, known as a natural gas liquid, to the steam that's injected into the reservoir. The natural gas liquid acts as a solvent, thinning the oil and allowing it to flow more freely to the producing well. We're currently testing a range of natural gas liquids as solvents.
SAP is a technological improvement that can be applied to SAGD operations to help maximize the amount of oil recovered. We estimate that SAP could help reduce our steam to oil ratio, or the amount of steam needed to produce a barrel of oil, by up to 30 percent.
Reducing our steam to oil ratio means we use less water and burn less natural gas to create steam, which reduces our greenhouse gas emissions.
We're looking at the potential to use SAP commercially at our oil sands operations, including Narrows Lake, our third approved oil sands project, which has yet to be built. Narrows Lake would be the industry's first project to use SAP on a commercial scale.