Western Canada has very large heavy oil and bitumen resources, the recovery of which will require the application of thermal recovery processes in most cases. The most common thermal process involves injection of large quantities of steam. Steam generation accounts for approximately 30 percent of the costs of recovering heavy oil and bitumen. Reduction of this cost, therefore, is a very important factor in the economics of recovering heavy oil and bitumen and affects the amount that will be ultimately recovered.

Cogeneration of steam and electricity has been implemented at a number of projects in California and other places. It has proven to be one method of improving the energy efficiency and reducing costs of both electricity and steam. An industry-supported study of cogeneration as it would apply to Canadian operations was undertaken in 1992. Typical small, medium, and large heavy oil or bitumen thermal recovery projects of 4,000, 15,000, and 50,000 BOPD were identified and conceptual cogeneration designs, cost estimates, and economic evaluations were carried out for 10 scenarios. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to illustrate the relationship between the power buy-back rate and fuel costs on the economics of potential cogeneration projects. The simple cycle gas turbine configuration applied to medium and large volume projects was shown to have potential applicability.

The design, cost estimates, economics, and other factors that must be considered in developing a cogeneration project are discussed.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.