Process Control of the Hot Water Extraction Process is still relatively limited, largely because critical process measurements have not been available. Over the last few years, Syncrude has been endeavouring to address this through the development of process specific sensors. Recent implementation of these sensor developments is providing a new look at the process and offers a cost effective route to improving process operation.

This paper will describe recent advances in Extraction on-line process measurement systems; the oil sand analyzer, froth quality meter, and gamma spectrometer. These instruments allow us to examine for the first time, the short-term effects of variability in oil sand ore and process conditions on bitumen recovery and product quality.

An understanding of the relationships among incoming ore, processing conditions and product parameters is required to optimize the Extraction process. Multivariate data analysis techniques are allowing us to examine these relationships in detail and will provide the basis for an improved process control strategy. Some of these relationships are examined and their implications discussed.

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