Abstract

In this study, the total energy requirements associated with the production of bitumen from oil sands and its upgrading to synthetic crude oil (SCO) are modeled and quantified. The production scheme considered is based on the commercially applied steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) for bitumen extraction and delayed coking for bitumen upgrading. In addition, the model quantifies the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the production of energy required for these operations from technologies utilized in the currently existing oil sands energy infrastructure. The model is based on fundamental engineering principles, and Aspen HYSYS and Aspen Plus simulations. The energy demand results are expressed in terms of heat, power, hydrogen, and process fuel consumption rates for SAGD extraction and bitumen upgrading. Based on the model’s output, a range of overall energy and emission intensity factors are estimated for a bitumen production rate of 112,500 BPD (or 93,272 BPD of SCO), which were determined to be 262.5–368.5MJ/GJSCO and 14.17–19.84gCO2/MJSCO, respectively. The results of the model indicate that the majority of GHG emissions are generated during SAGD extraction (up to 60% of total emissions) due to the combustion of natural gas for steam production, and the steam-to-oil ratio is a major parameter affecting total GHG emissions. The developed model can be utilized as a tool to predict the energy demand requirements for integrated SAGD/upgrading projects under different operating conditions, and provides guidance on the feasibility of lowering GHG emissions associated with their operation.

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