Extraction and upgrading of bitumen in Alberta, Canada uses large amounts of energy, generates huge volumes of acid gas, consumes massive volumes of water, and is costly. Most bitumen produced in Alberta is converted in surface upgraders to synthetic crude oil (SCO), a 31 to 33°API oil product. Next, SCO is converted to transportation fuels and lubricants in conventional refineries. Bitumen upgrading requires hydrogen. Today, most of the hydrogen is produced by steam reforming of methane which requires huge amounts of methane. Alternatively, hydrogen can be generated by in situ gasification of bitumen. Gasification is potentially more energy efficient with reduced emissions since acid gases are sequestered to some extent in the reservoir. Also water usage is lowered and heavy metals and sulfur compounds in the bitumen tend to remain downhole. The overall objective of this research is to understand and optimize hydrogen generation from bitumen reservoirs. In situ technologies that convert bitumen to hydrogen will have direct application in bitumen upgrading, use as feedstock for ammonia and other chemicals, and may be a key step to start a hydrogen economy. One key step towards the design of in situ hydrogen generations processes is the construction of the reaction scheme together with the associated kinetic parameters. Here, a unified kinetic model that takes pyrolysis (thermolysis, thermal cracking), aquathermolysis, gasification, and combustion (oxidation) of Athabasca bitumen has been assembled. The model has been calibrated against 7 experimental and plant data sets (with 149 data points in total) and implemented in a thermal reservoir simulator. The unified kinetic model was developed by performing a global match of the reaction scheme and kinetic parameters against all available pyrolysis, aquathermolysis, gasification, combustion, and oxidation data.

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