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The ARMS of the Grizzly

March 06, 2014

The newest oil sands plant is unique in a number of respects. The centrepiece of Grizzly’s steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) development is its advanced, relocatable, modularized, standardized (ARMS) central processing facility.

Construction of the first phase at Algar Lake was completed in the winter 2013 and steam injection commenced in January 2014. Algar Lake has probable reserves of 114 million barrels plus 35 million barrels of contingent resources. The reservoir lies at a depth of approximately 225 metres, with up to 20 metres of net pay along a continuous channel. It has few complexities such as mud/clay intervals within the sands or bottom water, and has a continuous cap rock.  Algar Lake is also relatively close to infrastructure, requiring only 11 km of new road. It adjoins a competitor’s producing SAGD project, and lies approximately 60 km southwest of Fort McMurray.

ARMS’ most important elements are:

ARMS offers a range of technical, operational, economic and financial benefits, including:

A further innovation is Grizzly’s highly automated “shadow” control room in Calgary, which is linked via modern telecommunications to the field plant. It will serve as a centre to train plant operations people, and to model and test advanced process controls in order to progressively optimize plant operations over time. Grizzly anticipates that higher levels of process control could improve the reliability of thermal heavy oil operations. Grizzly’s vision is to move from a conventional oilfield model of operations to more of a petrochemical or refining model, which stresses minimum downtime and maximum efficiency.

Grizzly is privately owned- 75% by Wexford Capital LP and 25% by Gulfport Energy Corporation (ticker NASDAQ = GPOR).


The ARMS concept seems compelling for a small SAGD producer like Grizzly.