​Former MEG Energy project director to advance commercialization of Fractal Systems diluent reduction tech

Fractal Systems' demonstration plant at Provost, Alberta. Image: Fractal Systems

A small company progressing its proprietary diluent reduction technology toward commercialization has added seasoned SAGD engineering project management horsepower to its executive team.

Fractal Systems has announced Dave McDougall, who most recently oversaw MEG Energy’s 35,000 bbl/d Christina Lake Phase 2B expansion and development of the company’s Stonefell Terminal, as its new vice-president of engineering.

He also previously worked for Canadian Natural Resources and Cenovus Energy, including managing large-scale projects at both the Foster Creek and Christina Lake SAGD projects, Fractal says.

In his new role, McDougall will be responsible for leading the company’s engineering team and the commercialization of the Fractal technology platform.

Dave McDougall. Image: Fractal Systems

Fractal has been piloting its JetShear technology in the field since 2009, first with a 300 bbl/d facility near Consort, Alta., followed by a 1,000 bbl/d commercial scale demonstration plant near Provost.

The system is designed to reduce diluent requirements as much as 55 per cent by heating diluted bitumen just below incipient coking temperatures and pumping it through proprietary jet-nozzles where cavitation and mechanical shearing occurs.

The company says that since April 2014 it has processed over 185,000 barrels of diluted bitumen, successfully proving the base technology.

In February 2015 Fractal was awarded $3.7 million from Ottawa’s Sustainable Technology Development Canada fund to advance the technology with its producer partner, Cenovus Energy.

In 2016 ClimateCHECK confirmed the potential benefits of the technology, determining that Enhanced JetShear could potentially reduce GHG emissions on a wells-to-refinery basis by up to 5.4 percent compared to a typical Canadian SAGD-sourced dilbit.

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