Acceleware's RF XL delivers energy to in-situ oil more effectively than any existing thermal process, including SAGD, at a lower cost and with lower emissions. As a result, operators are able to produce oil cleanly and profitably from a wider range of reservoir types than ever before. The most GHG-intensive components of traditional oil sands projects are the treatment of water and the generation of steam at the surface. Generating and delivering one unit of electromagnetic heat requires far less energy than an equivalent amount of steam heat.
As a water molecule in the reservoir turns to steam, it no longer absorbs energy produced by the RF XL process, enabling the energy to permeate further throughout the rock formation, creating more steam and mobilizing more oil. This 'volumetric heating' effect improves the efficiency of the process as it takes less energy to heat the reservoir with RF XL than with SAGD. Since the heat and steam are generated within the reservoir, there is no loss of heat or energy from surface to reservoir.
We also expect that the RF XL technology will allow us to achieve first oil from a development project significantly faster than SAGD or other enhanced oil recovery techniques owing to reduced surface infrastructure construction, and more efficient heating and production mechanics.
Lower Capital Costs
Utilizing Acceleware's RF XL technology in place of SAGD is estimated to reduce the capital costs of oil sands and heavy oil production by over 40% on both a capital intensity (dollar per flowing barrel) and a total capital investment basis.
Acceleware's RF XL technology features a simplified surface facility approximately one-third the size of an equivalent permanent central processing facility that would be required by a SAGD project to generate steam and process water. The infrastructure cost savings and significant reduction in the volume of water processed are the fundamental drivers behind the lower projected capital cost of RF XL.
With minimal surface facility requirements and the ease of mobility of the RF XL power conversion electronics, the RF XL system can be deployed at a single well or a single pad, allowing operators to profitably scale one well (or pad) at a time and relocate the system multiple times to optimize productivity and returns. The reduced size, scale and ability to redeploy the RF XL system leads to a significant estimated reduction in the minimum investment required to economically launch production at a new site.
Lower Operating Costs
RF XL is expected to be more energy efficient and less labour intensive to operate, even when compared to industry-leading SAGD performance, resulting in meaningful cost benefits. Operating cost efficiencies are driven by a combination of decreased energy, labour and service costs, along with enhanced efficiencies realized by using RF XL to deliver useful heat to pay zones - i.e. no ticketed steam engineers, no steam based pressure vessels, and reduced pressure vessel compliance work required.
The simplified surface operations of an RF XL deployment would require fewer staff to operate, have lower maintenance and workover needs, and require less water processing and disposal. Given RF XL is remotely monitored and managed, staff are only dispatched as needed for maintenance or repairs.
RF XL could allow for extraction from reservoirs that were previously considered not viable to produce. In aggregate, it is estimated that RF XL could unlock up to six times more barrels of untapped Alberta oil (as shown in the diagram below), while saving billions of dollars on production costs. Further, since Acceleware's technology opens up vast amounts of untouched resources, it allows operators to access better quality barrels by identifying, developing and producing those reservoirs or parts of the reservoir that will yield the best economic and environmental performance.
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RF XL technologies could enable production from a wide range of untapped geologies and reservoir formations:
- Very deep or very thin reservoirs can be accessed since RF XL can be used at depths and in formations where steam is not viable;
- Cracked or fractured rock, common in carbonate formations, do not suffer from energy loss since heat is efficiently delivered to the reservoir directly around the heating lines with RF XL;
- Shallow reservoirs without a cap rock or some other containment structure required for steam-based extraction, are suitable for RF XL; and
- Developed reservoirs with up to 90% of the oil still in the ground, where primary heavy oil production or cold heavy oil production with sand ("CHOPS") was used, can be developed with RF XL to recover significantly more remaining oil using the existing infrastructure with minimal additional investment and little to no new surface disturbance.