Oil Sands Extraction
GSE's patented LIQUEX® technology can be utilized to extract bituminous organic matter from mined oil sands (tar sands). The LIQUEX®
process is conducted by mixing oil sands with GSE's proprietary solvent, GSX®. At this time, GSX® extracts and dissolves mainly
bituminous material (i.e., hydrocarbons) as well as other organic matter from the oil sands. The resultant mixture undergoes solid-liquid
separation to produce a liquid stream and particulate solids.
The liquid stream generally consists of GSX®, bituminous organic matter and water that is inherently present in oil sands. Depending on the
specific oil sands feedstock, a fraction of heavy metals and/or minerals (i.e., pollutants) may transfer to the liquid extract mixture. If necessary,
any pollutants present can be treated with relative ease. GSX® is separated from the bitumen via distillation for future use in the process.
The particulate solids are comprised of sand, clay, trace amounts of bitumen and various pollutants.
The LIQUEX® technology greatly diminishes the environmental impact of extracting bitumen from mined oil sands because the process does not require
water to perform extraction. Water is only used to conduct equipment operations necessary during the process (e.g., water boiler for steam generation).
Compared to other available technologies that use a large quantity of water during extraction (e.g., 6 barrels water per barrel bitumen recovered), the
LIQUEX® process eliminates the need for tailing ponds. GSE's proprietary solvent is also effective at ambient temperature while other technologies
require water heated to high temperatures, which translates to utility cost savings for producers using the LIQUEX® technology.
GSE's technology is feasible to extract bitumen from both low-grade and high-grade oil sands whereas other technologies cannot process lower grade oil
sands economically. Third-party laboratory testing has demonstrated recovery rates up to 99% using the LIQUEX® hydrocarbon extraction process.
The recovered bitumen is representative of a heavy synthetic crude oil that can be marketed as one or more of the following products:
- Heavy fuel oil blend;
- Fuel for electric power generation via direct combustion;
- Refiner feedstock to produce transportation fuels; and
- Asphalt base to produce asphalt binder.
For oil sands producers, the potential benefits of GSE's technology include the following:
- Maximizing bitumen extraction, including from lower grade oil sands;
- Minimizing water requirements;
- Reducing energy requirements;
- Significantly reducing extraction time;
- Enhancing the environmental sustainability of the extraction process by substantially decreasing the emission of pollutants and the generation of
greenhouse gases, thus resulting in a low carbon footprint;
- Operating a process capable of remedying the existing tailing ponds with concomitant recovery of additional bitumen;
- Enabling producers to establish an economically compelling process in light of the recyclability of the reagent as well as the relative simplicity
of the technology; and
- Eliminating the need for diluent to facilitate the transport of extracted bitumen due to the viscosity-reducing property of the reagent.
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