The term heavy oil is used for a type of crude oil that is dense and viscous in nature. Unlike conventional oil, heavy oil does not flow easily and typically requires mining or thermal in-situ extraction techniques.
Heavy oil and bitumen represent most of Canada’s known oil resources and it requires advanced extraction methods, such as the technologies deployed in thermal in-situ processing facilities.
Vista is a leader in in-situ heavy oil extraction facilities. Our engineering capabilities include large-scale, multi-phased facility expansions, pilot projects, as well as brownfield programs of facility modification and debottlenecking projects in cold heavy oil production and thermal oil operations.
Steam-assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD)
A thermal in-situ recovery technique, SAGD involves the process of injecting steam into the reservoir to bring bitumen to the surface. This is done through a pair of horizontal wells drilled into the reservoir, placed one above the other. These are known as the injection well and the production well.
Cyclical Steam Stimulation (CSS)
Cyclical Steam Stimulation (CSS) is another thermal in-situ recovery method that uses steam injection to extract bitumen. The cycle contains three stages:
- Injection of steam into the reservoir
- Soaking period to allow thinning of oil
- Extraction, using force or by the natural flow
A single vertical well is utilized for the purpose of extracting oil.
Vertical Steam Drive (VSD)
The Vertical Steam Drive (VSD) method involves injecting steam into a gas stratum lying adjacent to an oil stratum. This builds an upright bank of liquid from the steam condensate across the gas stratum and forces the steam vertically against the oil, which causes the oil to flow into the production well. The steam cannot escape and the oil is easily processed. The steam keeps moving the liquid bank towards the production wells so that more and more oil can be moved towards them.
Toe-to-heel Air Injection (THAI)
THAI is an in-situ combustion recovery method for extracting heavy oil. It uses a combination of a vertical air-injection well and a horizontal production well to extract oil from a reservoir.
Additionally, Vista’s heavy oil engineering capabilities include:
- Research of client-specific technologies (examples include enhanced steam generation, SO2 capture, and oxyfuel combustion)
- Primary oil treating
- Diluent recovery/blending
- Sludge treating
- Steam generation
- Produced/wastewater treatment
- Satellite and gathering systems