Our oil sands and heavy oil operations
Cenovus launched the oil sands’ first commercial SAGD project in 2001 and has been a pioneer in the advancement of SAGD technology. We have no mining assets, tailings ponds or megaprojects. We have three producing oil sands projects in Alberta: Christina Lake, Foster Creek and Sunrise, as well as thermal and heavy oil operations at Lloydminster in Saskatchewan.
How does steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) work?
Steam-assisted gravity drainage or SAGD (pronounced sag-DEE) is a relatively new technology that was developed in Alberta in the 1970s and commercialized in the 1990s to access oil sands deposits that are too deep to mine. SAGD uses advanced horizontal drilling techniques, combined with steam injection technology, to access oil sands reservoirs that can be hundreds of metres deep.
Our Foster Creek site was the first commercial SAGD project in the oil sands and Cenovus has been a pioneer in the SAGD industry. Using SAGD technology, we can access large underground oil sands reservoirs with a relatively small surface footprint.
We currently have three producing SAGD projects in the oil sands – Christina Lake, Foster Creek and Sunrise – as well as 11 SAGD sites in our Lloydminster thermal operations.
Watch this two-minute video to understand how SAGD works and why it is so important.