Over 80 Rotork CP, GP and RC200 pneumatic actuators have been installed on well pads in Alberta, Canada where they will be part of an in situ steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) oil sand extraction project.
SAGD technology is used to extract bitumen oil from 800 metres below the surface of the earth. This process is a form of steam stimulation in which two horizontal wells drill into an oil reservoir, one a few metres above the other. High pressure steam is continuously injected into the upper wellbore to heat the oil and reduce its viscosity. The heated oil then drains into the lower wellbore where it can be pumped out. The water and oil are taken to a separation facility, where the water is then taken, recycled and re-converted into steam so the process can begin again. This process significantly reduces the impact on the environment, when compared to historic methods.
The actuators control the flow of steam and bitumen oil in these two wells. The levels of precision offered by the CP, GP and RC200 pneumatic actuators a critical as the exact temperature must be maintained at all times in order to ensure that the steam condenses at the right point and facilitate the flow to the separation facility. The pneumatic actuators were also favoured as they also perform vital Emergency Shutdown (ESD) function.
The well pads follow a new zero base design (ZBD) and are located in Northern Alberta. It is expected that this project will create a 15 to 20 per cent reduction in the surface footprint for the well pads and a 35 to 55 per cent reduction in the overall well pad cost.
The actuators have been installed on a remote site with a harsh environment. They will be exposed to temperatures as low as -50°C with snowy weather conditions. Their robust designs enable to operate properly even under conditions such as these.
All CP, GP and RC200 actuators are certified to IP 66M/67M, ATEX 2014/34/EU, PED 2014/68/EU.
The CP and RC200 ranges of scotch yoke actuators provide both double-acting and spring-return configurations. They have a torque output of up to 4,500 Nm (3,319 lbf.ft) and 4,400 Nm (3,245 lbf.ft) respectively. Optional emergency manual override is available to operate the actuator in the event of fluid supply failure.
The GP range of pneumatic scotch yoke actuators are designed to provide a rotary, quarter-turn movement for either on/off or modulating duty. They are made with corrosion resistant cylinders, can be configured to fail close or fail open positions and have a torque output of 600,000 Nm (442,537 lbf.ft).