​Pengrowth to increase SAGD production by capitalizing on lower-than-expected steam requirements

Aerial of the Lindbergh SAGD project. Image: Scovan Engineering

Pengrowth Energy has identified a way to increase production capacity at its Lindbergh SAGD project by a third without installing any costly additional steam generation.

The company has filed an application with the Alberta Energy Regulator to increase approved nameplate capacity at Lindbergh from 30,000 to 40,000 bbls/d.

Phase 1 of the project is currently operating at about 15,000 bbls/d (with nameplate capacity of 12,500 bbls/d), and approval is in place for the Phase 2 expansion, which would add capacity of 17,500 bbls/d.

Pengrowth says the strong performance of its existing operations has enabled the changes to Phase 2.

Phase 1 has achieved a steam to oil ratio of 2.5:1, compared to its design SOR of 3.62:1, although the SOR is expected to rise to its design rate as time passes. That means that in early stages of production, steam is available to be diverted to new wells.

“These results suggest that during the initial development of the reservoir, increased bitumen production is possible without additional steam generation,” Pengrowth says in its application.

The Phase 2 expansion is currently approved to have three eight-well pads, of which one has been constructed and is awaiting drilling activities, scheduled for the second quarter.

The amended design adds a fourth well pad, as well as facilities including a second treater skid and additional cogeneration capacity. It also removes a utility boiler.

“The limiting parameter for increasing bitumen above 30,000 bbls/d during Phase 2 production will be the ability to extract more water from the emulsion,” Pengrowth says.

“By incorporating an additional treater in the Phase 2 design, Pengrowth can realize increased bitumen production during the initial Phase 2 reservoir development without increasing the amount of steam generated. The additional of a treater will not result in additional emissions from the project.”

Depending on market conditions, Pengrowth says it anticipates sanctioning Phase 2 in late 2017 or 2018.

The company has budgeted $10 million at Lindbergh in 2017 for Phase 2 engineering and design. By the end of the year, Pengrowth expects the design work to be approximately 70 percent complete and to be ready to execute on Phase 2 as funds become available.

Pengrowth reduced its net loss in 2016 to $294 million from $1.09 billion in 2015, mainly due to the absence of impairment charges recorded in 2015, the company says.

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