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 2005 and was completed in 2010. The process tested during the field trials – solvent vapour extraction (SVX) – has the potential to unlock western Canada’s vast and under-exploited heavy oil resources with significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions during extraction.  SVX enhanced oil recovery does not use water and only a fraction of the energy needed to recover oil by current thermal (steam) methods like SAGD.


The JIVE project tested different solvents in field trials at three different  fields .  Solvent extraction is an enhanced oil recovery process designed specifically for heavy oil reservoirs.

What is Solvent Extraction?

Solvent injection processes involves injecting a gaseous hydrocarbon solvent, typically butane, propane or CO2, into areservoir. The solvent mixes with and dissolves in the heavy oil, reducing its viscosity. The target recovery mechanism (drainage, drive, or cyclic), the 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 may also be applicable to shallower, more viscous oil sands, opening up a vast potential for application not just in Saskatchewan's heavy oils, but in Alberta and other regions around the world like Venezuela.


The JIVE project included laboratory studies, physical modeling, and numerical simulations coordinated with three vapour extraction pilot operations near Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. 

Between 2007 and 2010, three field trials of solvent vapour extraction technologies were completed, along with well-defined laboratory studies that included scaled and mechanistic physical modeling and numerical simulations. The project demonstrated increased recovery rates from depleted heavy oil reservoirs. The impacts of temperature, pressures and optimizing solvent concentrations were all studied.

The field trials showed great promise, including overcoming one of the main obstacles to widespread deployment of SVX – solvent recovery. The JIVE research program was focused on optimizing the SVX process for more widespread commercial applications.  Husky’s testing was so promising at the Edam pilot location show in the figure below, it continued to experiment with and optimize the use of solvent vapour extraction in its operations.  Husky's Lashburn

commercial CO2 injection project, near their initial JIVE pilot, has recovered an additional 2 million barrels of incremental oil.


JIVE extraction configurations

Two configurations were tested in the JIVE program - one a horizontal injection and recovery method, and the other a cyclic horizontal injectoin and soaking program.  The two methods are shown in the movies below.