Acceleware and GE say their new radio frequency oilsands tech could drop costs up to 50%

A consortium of oil producers will support new testing of radio-frequency technology to reduce oilsands costs and GHG emissions, Calgary-based Acceleware announced on Tuesday.

Acceleware says it will partner with GE to develop critical power components and complete a pilot test of the system, called “RF XL.” The technology is expected to be deployed on a typical oilsands well pair in 2017.

"We believe RF XL has the potential to deliver operating cost savings of up to 50%, which is significant when compared to the current industry average operating cost of $14.39 for SAGD," Acceleware vice-president said Mike Tourigny said in a statement.

"We also see potential for capital cost reductions on the order of 66% when compared to the industry average for SAGD. In addition to compelling economic benefits, this technology requires no external water, uses no solvents or chemicals, and should reduce GHG emissions by 50% or more."

GE will provide high-efficiency silicon carbide power electronics technology. Manager of GE Global Research in Canada Brian Gregg called the technology a potential game changer.