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Peace River
Peace River
Peace River

The 80 per cent of Canada’s oil sands resources too deep to be mined are recovered in place or in situ, by drilling wells. In situ methods cause less land disturbance than mining.


In situ operations

Shell produces bitumen from its in situ heavy oil leases located in the Peace River oil sands.  In the Peace River area we produce bitumen from the Peace River Complex using thermal recovery methods and from the Cliffdale Battery using cold production techniques. 

In situ operations technology

Cold Production: Cold production can be used on areas of the reservoir where the bitumen is mobile enough to be pumped to the surface unaided by steam. The cold production concept uses long horizontal wells to pump the product to the surface without the aid of heat.

Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS): CSS is a thermal production technique, also known as steam soak or huff and puff. It is a form of well stimulation that involves heating the reservoir by periodically injecting steam into a production well and then giving it time to soak before the well is produced. Heat is injected to reduce the oil viscosity, thereby allowing it to be pumped to the surface through recovery wells.

Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD): In SAGD recovery, two horizontal wells are drilled, one above the other. Steam is injected into the upper well. This heats the bitumen and allows it to drain to the lower well from which it is produced.

In situ operations and wildlife
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Wildlife pipeline crossing at Peace River Complex

Shell has more than 30 years of experience in operating in situ operations and our current operations have a number of measures in place to protect the environment.  We are seeking to continously improve the environmental performance of our in situ operations.

The 80,000-barrel-per day Carmon Creek project, currently under construction on our Peace River heavy oil leases includes a number of environmental mitigation measures including produced water recycling, co-generation and acid gas disposal. The project is premised on not using any water from the Peace River for steam generation during normal operations.

With our Carmon Creek Project we will be a leader among in situ operations with our efforts to minimize impacts to air, water and land.

Find out more about the measures Shell is taking to maximize the environmental performance of its Carmon Creek Project.

Peace River Main Street

Shell contributes to the general well being of the communities around our in situ operations

While the most significant opportunities we bring to the communities in which we operate are directly related to our operations, Shell also contributes to the general well being of the communities around our in situ operations.

Since 2012, Shell has contributed more than $1.3 million to not-for-profit organizations and initiatives in the Peace Rive area. In November 2013, Shell announced it was investing $625,000 in two initiatives that would help to support high-quality health care in the Peace River Region. Earlier in the year the company announced it was also making a $500,000 contribution to the Northern Lakes College towards a new lab for the Peace River Regional Power Engineering Program.

For more information on Shell’s social investment initiatives, visit www.shell.ca/community.