The steam injected into the oil sands reservoir in the SAGD process helps bitumen flow in two ways – reducing its viscosity by heating it, and maintaining pressure in the reservoir to facilitate bitumen flow. MEG's patented eMSAGP technology – enhanced Modified Steam and Gas Push1 - involves co-injecting a non-condensable gas, like natural gas, with the steam. Once there is sufficient heat in the reservoir, the non-condensable gas helps maintain pressure and frees up steam to be redeployed into new SAGD well pairs.

Single collector wells called “infill wells” are also placed in the sweet spot between producing SAGD well pairs to collect bitumen that would otherwise be unrecoverable, increasing efficiency in the reservoir. To date, eMSAGP has been deployed at MEG’s Phase 1 and 2 wells, which represent about 25% of the company’s production, and has been very successful. The technology has enabled MEG to increase production without increasing steam generation capacity. In those specific well patterns where eMSAGP has already been deployed, the company is currently seeing a steam-oil ratio of approximately 1.3, with the freed-up steam being diverted into new wells to further increase production.

Because eMSAGP requires less steam per barrel of oil, less capital is required to increase production, and as production grows MEG can spread its fixed costs over more barrels and reduce the company’s per barrel costs further. eMSAGP is also tremendously flexible in terms of the pace that it can be implemented. MEG can expand the technology across a number of pads at one time or proceed on a well-by- well basis.

MEG’s work to expand eMSAGP during 2017 consists primarily of drilling infill and SAGD wells, with minor debottlenecks at the central plant. As this expansion progresses, MEG expects production to ramp up and exit the year at 86,000 to 89,000 barrels per day, with further production increases through 2018 and into 2019.

eMSAGP.JPG*1 Steam and Gas Push (SAGP) was invented by the late Dr. Roger Butler, who also invented the SAGD process.