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March 18, 2015

LAB TECHNICIAN TURNS INVENTOR

Taking inspiration from nature, chemist creates diluent enhancer

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May 15, 2014

Sustainable chemistry solution could ease pipeline capacity concerns

Calgary, Alberta -With oil sands production surging, and pipelines operating at near capacity, Canada’s oil industry needs to explore alternatives to get its product to market.

New pipelines are under development and more oil is being shipped by rail, but an Alberta start-up believes a sustainable chemistry solution could quickly increase oil capacity by cutting the amount of diluents used to keep the oil flowing.

"Canada's oil industry is facing a serious challenge to its long-term growth as it runs into capacity constraints in existing pipelines,” says James Robson, President of Petro Motion Inc. and 30 year veteran of the oil and gas business.

“With new sustainable chemistry solutions pioneered by our chemists, we believe we can help companies cut their diluents use by as much as 50 per cent,  freeing up critical space to safely move more oil.”

Heavy oil or tarry bitumen is too thick to flow through the pipelines, so energy companies use condensates, or diluents – light oil - to thin the crude oil to meet pipeline specifications. With the decreased viscosity, the oil flows more quickly, decreasing pumping costs.

Recognizing condensates are expensive and in short supply, Mr. Robson says Petro Motion chemists have been developing ways to “supercharge” diluents to make them even more effective. They recently accomplished that goal with the development of the EZ Flow/CondiSaV additive.

“It is a patented technology that accentuates the behaviour of regular diluent, allowing it to act as a "super" viscosity reducer,” says Christy Dewalt, Petro Motion’s Vice-President of Research and CEO of Petroleum Field Laboratory Inc. of Fox Creek, Alberta. 

“It`s a 100 per cent natural hydrocarbon product derived from down hole exploration. It alters intermolecular bonds within diluents to enhance their slipperiness.”  

Under controlled laboratory settings EZ Flow/CondiSaV has been shown to improve condensate performance in all types of oil, says Ms. Dewalt. With less diluents and more oil per shipped barrel, projected production analysis indicate immediate savings of $4 -$5 per barrel without any investment in capital costs.

Laboratory testing will continue, but Mr. Robson said the company is seeking a partner for a $250,000 field trial to verify proof of concept.

“We are looking for a producer with a little entrepreneurial flair that would like to make  $4 to $5 per barrel more than they currently making,” says Robson. “When I was a small producer, I would have cherished the thought of making at least $4 to $5 per barrel more than my competition. I am sure there is a producer who thinks like me.”

 

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