Oil Sands

The Oil Sands, located in Alberta, Canada, are massive deposits of bitumen - a viscous, black, asphalt-like oil mixed with sand, clay, and water. The total reserves of the Canadian Oil Sands are 175 billion barrels and rank second in volume only to the conventional oil deposits found in Saudi Arabia. According to the Oil & Gas Network, $79.5 billion is expected to be invested in Canadian Oil Sands projects over the next 10 years. More than $29 billion was invested between 1996 and 2004.

Intense efforts are under way to mine and separate the oil from the oil sands and convert it into a usable form of crude oil. These operations are generally divided into two types:  mining/extraction that uses a froth treatment method; and in-situ Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), where steam is pumped underground to lower the bitumen viscosity so it can be pumped to the surface. The recovered bitumen requires additional processing before it can be sent to a conventional refinery. This is accomplished in the Oil Sands Upgraders that convert the tar-like bitumen into sweet light crude oil.

A number of challenges are present in these processes, one of which is a fundamental need for improved separations technologies. In particular, the rapid expansion of industry has stressed the region's water sources. Efficient use and recycling of this precious natural resource is a priority. Pall's experience in filtration, separation, and purification is being applied to Oil Sands operations throughout Western Canada. Pall has a special interest in the environment and is constantly searching for new ways to use and replenish the world's most precious resource  water. Pall offers a wide range of technologies and services including: 


  • Amine and sulphur plant reliability program
  • Boiler feed water - generate from river water
  • Coker gas oil   
    extend life of hydrotreater catalyst by removing solid contaminants
  • Compressor outlet gas filtration 
  • Compressor protection 
  • Gasification - hot gas filters/candles
  • Hydrocarbon steam stripping - remove condensed water
  • Low NOx burners - protect from solid and liquid aerosols
  • Potable water for camps and plant site
  • Process analyzer filters and coalescers
  • Sour water stripper – reduce fouling by removing solids and oil contaminants
  • "Steam assisted" gravity drainage (SAGD) - purify oil affected waters

Learn More