Saskatoon home to monumental oil industry research

Watch above: Kevin Stanfield gets an exclusive look at the electron storage ring at the Canadian Light Source.

SASKATOON – A new collaboration including Saskatoon-based Canadian Light Source (CLS) will research methods to improve extraction from heavy oil reservoirs. For the first time, a particle accelerator called a synchrotron will image a heavy oil system.

A synchrotron uses beams of light to create a detailed image of matter.

The research, headed by the University of Calgary, focuses on an oil reservoir in the Lloydminster area, where sand gets picked up during the extraction process.

“What happens is you get these voids that are created, and once the voids are created, then the pressure drop is too much and the oil no longer flows,” said Ken From, CEO of the Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC).

READ MORE: Funding awarded to upgrade Saskatoon synchrotron

A two per cent increase in extraction would result in an additional 500 million barrels, From said.

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The PTRC’s Heavy Oil Research Network is contributing $100,000 to the study, along with $160,000 from Innovation Saskatchewan. Funding from the U of C and CLS bring the total price tag to $303,000.

The Canadian Light Source, on the University of Saskatchewan campus, is home to the synchrotron, one of the largest science projects in Canadian history and the only one of its kind in Canada