|Publication number||US20050134102 A1|
|Application number||US 10/738,089|
|Publication date||Jun 23, 2005|
|Filing date||Dec 18, 2003|
|Priority date||Dec 18, 2003|
|Also published as||CA2453697A1, CA2453697C|
|Publication number||10738089, 738089, US 2005/0134102 A1, US 2005/134102 A1, US 20050134102 A1, US 20050134102A1, US 2005134102 A1, US 2005134102A1, US-A1-20050134102, US-A1-2005134102, US2005/0134102A1, US2005/134102A1, US20050134102 A1, US20050134102A1, US2005134102 A1, US2005134102A1|
|Inventors||George Cymerman, Juhan Coward, Jim McTurk|
|Original Assignee||George Cymerman, Juhan Coward, Mcturk Jim|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (6), Referenced by (23), Classifications (12), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to a system, located at a mine site, for mining oil sand, slurrying it and desanding the slurry to produce a pipelineable stream of bitumen, fines and water.
Oil sand from the Fort McMurray region of Alberta has now been commercially surface mined and processed for about 40 years, to extract and recover the contained bitumen.
The initial technique used can broadly be described as follows:
In selecting and developing the detailed steps, conditions and equipment units that embody this broadly described system, it needs to be appreciated that many factors have an influence in arriving at the final implementation. Some of these factors are:
In the early embodiments of these facilities, the as-mined oil sand was transported on belt conveyors from the mine sites to central processing plants. However, the conveyors, often stretching for miles, were expensive and difficult to operate. Later it was found feasible to crush and mix the oil sand with heated water at the mine site and then pump the resulting slurry through a pipeline directly to a remote PSV. Today, this type of operation is being implemented as new mining areas are developed. At the applicants' facility, this scheme more specifically involves:
However, the trucks constitute a significant portion of material handling cost and the distance they must travel becomes greater as the mine face moves away from the mixer tower.
Thus there exists a need for a different combination of processing steps and equipment units, which eliminates or reduces reliance on trucks and which can better cope with the gradual advance of the mine face.
The phrase “mine site”, as used herein, means an area of land presently undergoing strip mining to excavate oil sand and which has one or more mine faces and one or more tailings retention facilities, which may be dike-enclosed areas or mined-out pits.
The adjective ‘mobile’, as used herein, is intended to indicate that equipment is mounted on driven tracks or the like for on-going advancement over terrain.
The adjective ‘relocatable’, as used herein, is intended to indicate that equipment is of a transportable size and on skids or the like, or can be readily disassembled into transportable sections, whereby it is stationary when operating but it is feasible to periodically move it from location to location, perhaps every few months.
The term “unit”, as used herein, is intended to mean a single piece of equipment or an assembly of pieces of equipment, which functions to perform one or more defined steps such as crushing and/or mixing.
In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, a process line comprising a combination of operatively connected mobile and relocatable equipment units is provided at a mine site. The process line functions to excavate oil sand and produce a stream of pumpable, aerated, aqueous oil sand slurry. More particularly, the process line comprises:
In one preferred feature of this embodiment of the process line, a lengthy first conveyor means, extending along the mine face, permits the slurry preparation means to remain stationary for a period of time, while coupling it for oil sand supply with the mobile and advancing excavating and sizing means.
In another feature of this embodiment, the slurry is moved through a pipeline, while on the mine site, to condition it in preparation for desanding.
In another aspect of the described embodiment, a process is provided comprising the steps of:
In an optional extension of the previously described process and process line, a relocatable desanding means is connected with the first pipeline means at the desanding location. The desanding means functions to receive the slurry and separate liquid and sand components of the slurry. It produces a desanded product, mainly consisting of bitumen, fines and water, and tailings, which mainly consists of sand, fines and water.
The desanding means preferably comprises a circuit of separators, arranged in series and operating countercurrently, wherein the underflow (or heavy fraction output) of one separator is fed to the next separator, the underflow of the last separator is tailings and the overflow (or lighter fraction output) of the first separator goes to a product pipeline, which transports it from the mine site, while the overflow of each following separator is recycled to the preceding separator.
It is a feature of the desanding circuit that subjecting separator underflow to secondary separation improves the probability of recovering contained bitumen.
The underflow of the last separator may be discarded into a dike-enclosed retention area or mined-out pit or otherwise processed as described below.
In a preferred embodiment, a plurality of such process lines are employed at the same mine site. As a consequence it is possible to transfer oil sand ore or slurry between process lines to cope with upsets or equipment repairs.
A process line 1 in accordance with the invention comprises a series of operatively connected processing units located at a mine site 2. The mine site 2 is positioned on a body of mineable oil sand 3, such as exists in the Fort McMurray region of Alberta. The mine site 2 has one or more mine faces 4, a slurry preparation location 5, a desanding location 6 and a tailings retention facility 7. As the mine faces 4 advance, one or both of the locations 5, 6 will periodically advance as well. As shown in
In the preferred embodiment (as shown in
It is to be understood that applicants contemplate that a person skilled in the art may substitute units without significantly affecting the way in which the process line 1 works.
The slurry is fed into the bottom inlet 99 of the separator 100 from pipeline 40. The sand separates and drops along the internal plates 101 and is withdrawn through the outlet 102. The water, some bitumen and fine solids leave through the top outlet 103.
The scope of the invention is defined by the claims now following.
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|International Classification||E21C41/26, E02F7/00, E02F1/00|
|Cooperative Classification||E21C41/31, E02F1/00, E02F7/00, E21C41/26|
|European Classification||E21C41/31, E02F1/00, E21C41/26, E02F7/00|
|Dec 18, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: CANADIAN OIL SANDS LIMITED PARTNERSHIP C/O CANADIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CYMERMAN, GEORGE;COWARD, JULIAN;MCTURK, JIM;REEL/FRAME:014827/0643;SIGNING DATES FROM 20031124 TO 20031126