The Joint Implementation of Vapour Extraction (JIVE) Project was a three year, $40 million initiative to develop and demonstrate solvent vapour extraction technology for recovering heavy oil in western Canada. The project began in 2007 and was completed in 2010. A final report is in the process of being completed.
The process under review – solvent vapour extraction (SVX) – has the potential to unlock western Canada’s vast and under-exploited heavy oil resources. SVX enhanced oil recovery is a clean break from past technologies as it does not use water and only a fraction of the energy needed to recover oil by thermal (steam) methods.
SVX is an enhanced oil recovery process designed specifically for heavy oil reservoirs. The process involves injecting a gaseous hydrocarbon solvent, typically butane, propane or CO2, into the reservoir. The solvent mixes with and dissolves in the heavy oil, reducing its viscosity. The target recovery mechanism (drainage, drive, or cyclic), solvent selection and well configuration are dictated by the geology of the reservoir, its rock/fluid properties and any previous development of the reservoir.
SVX processes may also be applicable to shallower, more viscous oil sands, opening up vast potential for application in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and other regions around the world.
The JIVE research project included laboratory studies, physical modeling and numerical simulations coordinated with three vapour extraction pilot operations near Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Canada.