Shell Canada announced Shell Enhance froth treatment technology, the first commercial application of a high temperature froth treatment processing technology that improves energy efficiency in oil sands production. Developed by Shell Canada with the help of government scientists at Natural Resources Canada’s CANMET Energy Technology Centre facility in Devon, Alberta, Shell Enhance froth treatment technology uses high temperatures in the paraffinic froth treatment process to more efficiently remove sand, fine clay particles and other impurities from oil sands froth. Froth is the mixture of oil, solids and water that results from the extraction process. By processing froth at a higher temperature, Shell Canada will be able to use smaller equipment, less water and less energy per barrel than conventional low temperature paraffinic processing. By saving energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with oil sands production are also reduced.
Shell Enhance froth treatment technology is a process that removes sand, fine clay and water from oil sands froth to make clean bitumen suitable for upgrading via hydrogen addition, which is the upgrading method used at Shell Canada’s Scotford Upgrader near Edmonton. Shell Enhance will use higher temperatures to make the separation process happen at a faster and more efficient rate, utilizing less energy.
Compared to Shell Canada’s current paraffinic froth treatment processes, Shell Enhance offers the following benefits:
– improves energy efficiency by 10 per cent (about 40,000 tonnes of
greenhouse gas per year)
– uses plot space 35 per cent smaller and essential equipment
75 per cent smaller
– uses 10 per cent less water, and
– can be modularized, generating construction efficiencies and reducing
Shell Enhance froth treatment technology will be utilized in the first expansion of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP), which was formally launched on November 1, 2006.
Completed in 2003, the AOSP was the first new integrated oil sands project in more than 25 years and uses innovative technology in its oil sands extraction and upgrading processes. The AOSP is the first oil sands project to be ISO 14001 registered demonstrating commitment to continuous improvement in all aspects of operational and environmental performance
The AOSP consists of the Muskeg River Mine located north of Fort McMurray, Alberta and the Scotford Upgrader located near Edmonton, and is a joint venture among Shell Canada Limited (60 per cent), Chevron Canada Limited (20 per cent) and Western Oil Sands L.P. (20 per cent).