Case Study

Laying the groundwork for natural gas decarbonization

Four oil pumps in a row, with an orange sky and setting sun in the background.

A technical and economic assessment of two novel processes for decarbonizing natural gas that have the potential to reduce emissions and move the industry towards a low carbon future.

The situation

Our client  is an industry alliance of oil sands operators that focuses on collaborative research to address environmental challenges associated with oil sands production. The alliance supports the development of technologies that can lower the carbon footprint of oil sands processing. The study examined novel technologies that enable the decarbonization of fuel gas used in a Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) oil sands unit, thereby reducing CO2 emissions.   

Our approach

We completed a technical and economic assessment of two novel processes for decarbonizing natural gas. We analyzed the incorporation of these technologies into a SAGD oil sands facility, reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of the SAGD process by removing carbon from the boiler fuel (natural gas), thereby reducing CO2 emissions. The elemental carbon would be collected as a solid. 

For both technologies, we worked with the technology developer to understand the fundamentals of the technology and used our expertise to develop a commercial process. Utilizing our in-depth knowledge and resources specific to handling fine carbon particulate and the knowledge of our Petcoke team, we developed flow schemes and cost estimates for the carbon solid handling and upgrading. We also developed estimates for potential values for saleable carbon product. 

The results

This study adds valuable insight into the use of new technologies to decarbonize oil sands processing in SAGD facilities.