A history of successful thermal heavy oil projects

Our local experience is bolstered by our large portfolio of diverse projects. Learn more about our thermal heavy oil experience worldwide.

Established by our predecessors, Wood Group Mustang is recognized as the leading Canadian provider of technology and project execution services for the rapidly expanding thermal heavy oil sector. We work with most of the major Canadian heavy oil producers to provide effective technical solutions and project execution strategies that meet rigorous schedule and cost demands. Our project workload includes conceptual and pilot project development right through to operational 90,000 bopd grass roots steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) projects.

The expertise of our project teams encompasses the following critical areas of thermal heavy oil project development:

  • Experience with SAGD, cyclic-steam stimulation (CSS) and solvent-assisted production technologies
  • Conceptual design, cost estimates, technology selection and economic modeling
  • Water treatment, steam generation and cogeneration options
  • Oil treating and separation
  • Field facilities development including pad and pipeline design, road and earthwork design
  • Full construction management capabilities including contracting strategies, HSSE administration and commissioning

Skillful construction management and a world class safety rating

Wood Group Mustang and Shell Canada view the Orion project as a great success, having completed the project on budget with a greatly accelerated schedule. Our team served as the prime contractor for construction on this 10,000 bopd grass-roots SAGD facility. The project included building the central plant with its major processing equipment: steam generation, water treating, oil treating, and a number of production well pads.

Our team completed Pre-FEED, FEED, detailed engineering and design, procurement and construction for the Orion project in only 32 months. The facility started up in September 2007, on time and on budget. The project team made significant progress under a very aggressive timeframe and the percentage of re-work at site for Phase 1 was less than 2%.

Our construction management team achieved Shell's "Target Zero" goal and exceeded 770,000 hours on-site without a lost time accident (LTA). In total, the project achieved a world-class safety performance record of over 1,100,000 workhours (on-site and home office) without an LTA.

Three companies. Two continents. One success story

Venezuela has enormous reserves of heavy oil and bitumen, just like the province of Alberta. Although the country has been a long-time exporter of conventional lighter crudes, they have ambitious plans to ramp up production of their heavier resources and were looking worldwide for expertise to help them develop an "extra heavy oil" reservoir. Their natural choice for experience with thermal heavy oil projects was an EPCM firm in Alberta. After a detailed selection process, PDVSA and their partners (Total and Statoil) in the PetroCedeno project selected Wood Group Mustang to be their supplier. We were pleased to have the opportunity to work with a team of diverse owners from the client organization, as well as to form an integrated project team with select members from the consulting firm Vepica in Venezuela. The end result was the delivery of Pre-FEED and FEED packages for several different SAGD production volumes, allowing PetroCedeno to select the optimum path forward.

As a joint venture between two companies on two continents, regular communication between our team and Vepica, was critical to project success. We ensured that all parties were kept informed through travel, conference calls, e-mail and weekly meetings.

Learning the systems and procedures employed by Vepica was also a very positive experience for Wood Group Mustang and the joint venture was able to take "the best from both organizations" for our client's benefit. Corporate and cultural differences were potential risks, but Wood Group Mustang worked to ensure the project team was aware of proper cultural protocols. This helped to establish a strong relationship with PDVSA and PetroCedeno.

Thermal heavy oil leaders

The Primrose East Project, a remote steam plant designed to generate 26,000 m3/stream per day cold water equivalent (CWE) of steam and pump 30,000 m3/d of produced emulsion, was successful from an operational, construction and budget perspective.

Our team was responsible for all engineering and procurement activities. Construction management was performed by the client with a team that included Wood Group Mustang personnel. The facility started up two weeks ahead of schedule and on budget.

The prevailing economic times during this project added significantly to the construction risk and required a change in strategy early in the construction phase. The engineering deliverables were more than suitable for the circumstances and enabled a successful construction phase.

Our project manager had this to say: "It was very rewarding to work with a team that produced such high quality engineering, procurement and contract deliverables. The result was an extremely successful construction phase, an early start-up and successful initial operation."

Reducing our impact on the environment

Wood Group Mustang is excited to be working on a pilot project that uses a new form of technology not previously used in our heavy oil industry. A SC-SAGD (solvent cyclic-steam assisted gravity drainage) plant in the Grand Rapids region is planned and will attempt to recover bitumen from carbonate bearing rock formations. If successful, the process will reduce water consumption and reduce CO2 emissions as compared to current standard SAGD practices which recover bitumen from sand formations, not rock.