Most people will have been exposed to some aspect of the debate about the Athabasca Oil Sands in North-Eastern Alberta and the significant role that the oil sands are expected to play in supplying conventional fossil fuels. Part of the bitumen is recovered from mines and part is recovered from in situ projects utilizing the Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage Process (SAGD). SAGD utilizes a considerable amount of steam, that is injected into geological formations. Hot water, bitumen and some vapour are recovered from the production wells. With significant steam generation, transmission and injection, there is the very real possibility of condensation induced water hammers. There have been a number of catastrophic failures to date. The intent of the paper is to provide interesting background information on the in situ oil sands industry. More importantly, to show some interesting and broader applications of thermalhydraulics developed in the nuclear industry. The expertise developed may have potential markets, with some adaptation, to the oil sands industry. Finally, there has been some discussion about using nuclear power for steam generation in the oil sands.
From M. R. Carlson
Appeared in Kerntechnik 2012/02, Page 141-148
Direct link: http://www.nuclear-engineering-journal.com/KT110244
Condensation induced water hammer and steam assisted gravity drainage in the Athabasca oil sands [961 KB]
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