Since 1998, the Petroleum Technology Research Centre has managed its Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) research program, providing leading-edge technology and innovation for our public and private sector partners in an attempt to improve the economic recovery of oil while reducing the environmental footprint of production.
In January of 2009, the PTRC’s research excellence was acknowledged when the Government of Canada, through its Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence program, awarded $10.5 million over four years to expand and enhance this existing EOR program. The Saskatchewan Government also increased its already substantial, on-going financial support, and along with continued private sector sponsorship the “Sustainable Technologies for Energy Production Systems” or STEPS Business-Led Network of Centres of Excellence was born.
The STEPS Network aims to become the national focus for leading-edge scientific and engineering innovations that address hydrocarbon energy production challenges for resources that are difficult to access.
KEY RESEARCH AREAS
STEPS research includes research in:
- Proven economic resources such as bitumen and heavy oil, including up to 80% of the resource that is currently difficult to access because of location, depth or geology;
- Future hydrocarbon resources such as oil shales and deep unmineable coal seams, and developing enabling technologies to access such resources;
- Light-medium conventional oil, particularly reserves that are in decline and need new technologies to improve recovery.
PRIVATE SECTOR DRIVERS
The private sector plays an active role in the STEPS research program, and in fact actively drives and shapes what research occurs.
Private sector partners – either as funders of the overall research program, or as participants in field trials of new technologies that are in development – gain the benefit of millions of dollars worth of research for a relatively small investment by seeing their and other company’s research dollars matched (often, dollar-for-dollar) by the federal and provincial funds accessible through the program.
As well, both the Saskatchewan and Canadian governments offer significant tax incentives for investing in technology R&D in Canada.