Dover Commercial Oil Sands Project, Alberta, Canada

Dover commercial oil sands project is located approximately 95km northwest of Fort McMurray in the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo in Alberta, Canada. The project is being developed in phases by Brion Energy (formerly known as Dover Operating Corporation), a joint venture formed by Athabasca Oil (40%) and PetroChina (60%) in 2010.

Dover is Brion Energy's second project in the bitumen-rich oil sands near Fort McMurray, Alberta, after the MacKay River commercial oil sands project (MRCP).

The Dover commercial project (DCP) received regulatory approval from the Alberta Energy Regulator in August 2013 in response to the application submitted in December 2010. Construction for the first phase development of the DCP is expected to begin in 2014 and the initial production is anticipated by 2015.

Reserves and production of the Dover commercial project

The recoverable bitumen from the project is estimated at four billion barrels over more than 50 years. The project is expected to produce 50,000 barrels of blended bitumen per day in the first phase, whereas the ultimate production target is 250,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Dover commercial oil sands project development details

"DCP will be an in-situ-thermal recovery project covering about 49,500ha within the territories of Dover north and Dover south."

DCP will be an in-situ-thermal recovery project covering about 49,500ha within the territories of Dover north and Dover south. It will be developed in five phases comprising the first two phases in Dover north and the remaining in Dover south.

Phase one is scheduled to come online by 2015, whereas phases two and three are expected to be operational by 2017 and 2018 respectively. Phases four and five will be operational by 2020 and 2022 respectively.

Technology used at the Dover project

"The Dover commercial oil sands project will employ steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) technology to produce bitumen trapped 75m to 100m beneath the surface."

The Dover commercial oil sands project will employ steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) technology to produce bitumen trapped 75m to 100m beneath the surface. The SAGD process involves the pumping of steam into ground to soften the bitumen deposit and separate it from the rock so that it can be pumped to the surface for processing. It is considered to pose significantly lesser environmental risks compared to oil sands mining.

The technology involves the horizontal drilling of two parallel underground wells with cylindrical casings placed at the well bottoms. The top well is the injection well through which steam generated by boilers is injected into the ground. Gravity pulls down the liquefied bitumen to the production well as the deposit is softened. The injected hot steam after cooling down to water also runs into the production well.

The water and oil mixture will be transported to the surface for separation using pumping system. The separated oil will be transported via pipelines to North American refineries to be processed into usable products such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. The separated water will be recycled and treated for reuse in the process.

Dover commercial oil sands project infrastructure facilities

The oil sands project involves the construction and installation of wellpads, two central processing facilities, a steam generation and distribution unit, water storage tanks, a water treatment facility, oil and water separator units as well as the pumping systems and pipeline. The wellpads will have an average life of between ten to 12 years.

Waste management facilities will include water disposal wells and a Salt Cavern well.

The first phase of the project will receive power from the grid. The remaining phases will use a combination of grid power and the captive-generated power at the site.

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