Energy, Water, Cost, and Greenhouse Gas Implications of Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage Surface Facility Technologies


This analysis explores the implications of technology options for steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) surface facilities on cost, energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and water consumption. Water integration in the form of distributed effluent treatment system design as well as heat integration considerations are the basis of this study. Cost savings are accomplished by sequentially employing water network optimization and energy integration techniques. Total annual cost savings of 2.7 to 7.8% are achieved at the surface facility through water integration. Additional operating cost savings of 9.2–10.2% are found due to heat integration. Of the technology options considered in this study, hot lime softening (HLS) with blowdown evaporation and hot lime softening with blowdown recycle are the most promising when considering the tradeoffs between energy, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption. However, these options are quite different (i.e., blowdown evaporation has lower water consumption but higher greenhouse gas emissions than blowdown recycle, whereas blowdown recycle has lower greenhouse gas emissions but higher water consumption than blowdown evaporation). Deciding between these options requires placing a value on these environmental externalities. The approach described in this work can be applied to inform decisions in the face of tradeoffs between a range of performance metrics. In addition, the analysis framework described in this paper can be adapted to consider new technology pathways as they become available.

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Business as usual


Block flow diagram


Boiler feed water


Capital cost, composite curve


Central processing facility


Dissolved oxygen


Free water knockout


Greenhouse gas


Heat exchanger network


Hot lime softening


High pressure


Induced gas flotation


Mathematical programming


Natural gas


Operating cost


Oil removal filter


Once-through steam generator


Pinch analysis


Process integration


Steam-assisted gravity drainage


Total dissolved solids


Total hardness


Total organic carbon


Total suspended solids


weak acid cation exchanger


Water network


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The authors wish to thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for financial support.

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Correspondence to Joule A. Bergerson.

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Dadashi Forshomi, Z., Carreon, C.E., Alva-Argaez, A. et al. Energy, Water, Cost, and Greenhouse Gas Implications of Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage Surface Facility Technologies. Process Integr Optim Sustain 1, 87–107 (2017).

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  • Process integration
  • Water integration
  • Heat integration
  • Pinch analysis
  • Steam-assisted gravity drainage
  • Bitumen production