US Oil Sands back in business
Calgary-based US Oil Sands has issued $12.8 million in new shares and restarted construction at its PR Spring Project in Utah’s Uinta Basin. Construction is 93% complete and the facility expected to start-up by the end of the year. The commercial demo plant should produce 2,000 bbl/day of bitumen. A second phase of expansion will bring production to over 10,000 bbl/day once completed.
The company has a proprietary extraction process which uses a citrus bio-solvent to extract bitumen from oil sands without the need for tailings ponds.
Oil sands deposits in the Utah area have different chemical properties than oil sands from Alberta's Athabasca region. Alberta oil sands is water-wet, making extraction possible using just hot water. Utah oil sands does not respond well to hot water, and requires the addition of a chemical solvent to separate the bitumen from the solids. Utah bitumen is slightly lighter than Athabasca bitumen, with a lower sulphur content.
The company also hopes to commercialize the process of dry tailings, where tailings are filtered and transported back to the mine for faster reclamation. Although dry tailings is not a new concept, its feasibility on a large scale is challenging at best.
If successful, solvent-based bitumen extraction has the potential to dramatically reduce capital costs, water consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over traditional oil sands mining operations. Both Imperial Oil and Shell have been aggressively researching this new technology, although neither have yet to test production on a larger scale.
SOURCE: US OIL SANDS SEPTEMBER 2016 CORPORATE PRESENTATION