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Germain (like Saleski) is located within the West Athabasca oil sands region and lies approximately 130 kilometres southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta. The reservoir target is within the Grand Rapids Formation, a regional marine deposit at an average depth of 225 metres which comprises the upper part of the regressive Upper Mannville Group and consists dominantly of thick sandstones. Its unique features are clean sand with a homogeneous and continuous reservoir pay zone (the bitumen-bearing portion) between 10 – 25 metres thick. These features increase the predictability and consistency of the reservoir.
Laricina intends to use its proprietary (SC-SAGD) process to recover the bitumen.
The secondary target is the Winterburn Formation, a bitumen-bearing carbonate complex that lies approximately 200 metres beneath the Grand Rapids. The Winterburn has favourable reservoir properties and high oil saturation. Laricina will lever the existing infrastructure at Germain to develop the underlying Winterburn Formation and plans to use a thermal recovery process such as cyclic-steam stimulation (CSS), C-SAGD, or modified SAGD.
The Germain leases total 17,664 hectares. Laricina holds 100% percent working interest in the property.
Germain Commercial Demonstration Project
The Germain Commercial Demonstration Project is an in situ oil sands project and Laricina’s first development in the Grand Rapids Formation, located in the western Athabasca region of northern Alberta.
The Commercial Demonstration Project used Solvent Cyclic-SAGD (SC-SAGD) technology to recover bitumen from the Upper Grand Rapids reservoir. SC-SAGD is based on SAGD technology, slightly modified by the addition of varying rates and compositions of solvents and changing steam rates over the life of the well-pair.
The Commercial Demonstration Project started up in June 2013 with first steam injection. In March 2015 Laricina announced suspension of operations at the Commercial Demonstration Project. This action reflects the Company’s continuing efforts to implement cost controls towards maintaining its financial position to protect the long-term value of its assets. Prior to shut-in at the end of 2014, the four well-pairs positioned above the basal water zone were successfully producing a combined oil production rate of more than 1,100 barrels per day (more than 175 cubic metres per day). SC-SAGD was tested after an initial period of SAGD production with promising results (an increase in bitumen production and reduction in steam-to-oil ratio).
Future Phases at Germain
Germain Phase 2 has been planned to add an incremental 30,000-33,000 barrels per day of production capacity to the Commercial Demonstration Project. The performance and operational learnings from the Commercial Demonstration Project will be used to set the design basis for Phase 2. In the first quarter of 2015, Laricina suspended its application for regulatory approval of future expansions at Germain until market conditions improve. Development timing of Phase 2 will be affected by the timing of regulatory approval, availability of financing, and a focus on managing costs and project construction efficiency overlap with Saleski. Longer term, additional expansions beyond Phase 2 are in the early planning stages. The Commercial Demonstration Project is the first step to move Laricina towards full commercial production that the Company estimates will total more than 200,000 barrels of bitumen per day from the Grand Rapids Formation.