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Heavy Oil Viscosity Reduction Project

Strategic Area

Energy - Technology and Innovation
GHG and Air Emissions




Alberta Innovates


Clean Growth Program



CGP Contribution

$ 1,500,000

Project Total

$ 3,791,280


Conklin, AB

Find out more

MEG Energy

Lead Proponent

MEG Energy Corp.

Project Objectives

The aim of this project is to prove the commercial viability of a process to reduce the viscosity of heavy, bituminous oil via on-site pilot testing. In this process, undiluted bitumen is treated to reduce viscosity, with the resultant product requiring up to 50% less diluent added to be transported by pipeline.

This project will build off the successful bench scale results achieved to date, with further testing to verify key variables which will increase certainty regarding commercial viability of this technology.

Specifically, operation of the heavy oil viscosity reduction pilot plant will continue in order to further study the following:

  • Verify the catalyst activity can be replicated on a larger scale in a facility that more closely resembles a commercial facility using continuous feed from an industrial thermal oil process.
  • Verify the catalyst life under the process conditions and contaminant levels that are experienced during actual thermal oil plant operation.
  • Execute engineering to define the scope, cost, and schedule for the design, construction, and operation of a commercial scale facility which will provide greater certainty on overall costs and economics.

Expected Results

It is expected that by reducing the bitumen viscosity –and therefore the amount of diluent needed to transport heavy, bituminous oil via pipeline –the project will result in a reduction in GHG emissions, electricity usage at downstream oil refineries, as well as lower fugitive emissions.

Furthermore, the results will indicate if the process can successfully scale and provide greater clarity on the overall costs of this process.

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