An overview of (he process design for OSLO Alberta Limited's (OSLO) commercialproject extraction plant is presented. The description encompasses facilitieswhich separate bitumen from the oil sand, purify the bitumen, and dispose ofthe waste solids and water. The development work" that has been completed by OSLO in order to demonstrate an acceptable level of technical risk is outlined, OSLO's technical criteria for process selection are stated and the anticipatedperformance of the OSLO process is summarized.


The extraction process reviewed in this paper originates with oil sandconditioning, delivers diluted bitumen to storage, and includes the managementof tailings. During the initial process selection activities, the OSLO designteam objectives were to develop a design that:

  • was economically attractive

  • had an acceptable level of risk

  • improved on current commercial practice in terms of recovery, energyefficiency, water consumption and tailings disposal practices

The OSLO commercial extraction process satisfies these objectives. There arethree major components to the process:

  1. Froth preparation, in which the principal separation of bitumen from thesand matrix is accomplished.

  2. Froth treatment in which the final bitumen product is prepared.

  3. Tailings which is concerned with effective disposal of the spent solidsand water from the preceding two components.

The interrelationship between these three components and the rest of theproject is shown in Figure 1.

Froth Preparation
Process Selection

OSLO conducted several process selection studies over a span of seven years.Generally, technology assessment was based on information available in thepublic domain. A spectrum of concepts including reporting, solvent-based, andwater-based technologies were considered. During this interval OSLO initiateddevelopment of a novel water-based extraction process that requires no thermalenergy input. This cold water process has been piloted, with AOSTRA assistance, for eight-hour intervals at a scale of up to 40 tonnes of oil sand per hour.Despite the success of these rests. OSLO has never considered its cold watertechnology as a candidate for the commercial project because it is notconsidered to be sufficiently developed.

The OSLO commercial process was initially configured to mitigate processingproblems that were anticipated on the basis of laboratory test work. Anextensive pilot plan program was performed over a 15 month interval in a northeast Calgary pilot plant that OSLO rented from Petro Canada Inc. Over thecourse of this program, the process evolved to its final configuration.

Process Description

Simulation models developed and calibrated by Syncrude Canada Ltd. were used inconjunction with pilot plant runs to assess alternative flow configurations.When thee flowsheet had been established major equipment was sized with theassistance of the simulation models.

The plant is comprised of two parallel trains with the exception of the frothcleaner which is common to both trains and the tailings lines of which thereare three, one being spare. A simplified process flow diagram is shown in Figure 2.

Slurry Preparation

Oil sand is delivered from Ute mine to the plant via two conveying belts.

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