Canadian Natural Resources Limited (Canadian Natural) will demonstrate a field pilot of its In-Pit Extraction Process (IPEP) technology, an alternative to conventional oil sands mining and ore processing.
The IPEP technology involves a relocatable, modular extraction plant that can be moved as the mine face advances. Ore processing and bitumen separation occurs adjacent to mining operations, significantly reducing material transportation. In addition to reducing GHG emissions, IPEP produces stackable tailings within the mine pit, greatly reducing the volume of fluid tailings and ultimately accelerating reclamation of oil sands mines.
Canadian Natural estimates that the IPEP technology could reduce GHG emissions by up to 40% in bitumen production compared to typical oil sands surface mining and extraction processes. The IPEP system would also enable expansion of mining operations without constructing new central ore processing facilities. Canadian Natural has committed to make this technology available to oil sands mining companies through COSIA for more rapid industry-wide adoption. In addition to reducing GHG emissions and creating other environmental benefits, it is estimated that the technology will reduce production costs by roughly $2/bbl and substantially reduce long term tailings management costs and liabilities.