The Alberta oil sands are one of the world’s richest reserves and offer significant potential for future growth. Compared to conventional oil, however, oil sands production has unique challenges in terms of materials selection and long-term performance. The recovery and upgrading of Alberta’s oil sands are complicated processes characterized by environments with severe corrosive and abrasive conditions. Operation under these harsh conditions results in significant maintenance and infrastructure replacement costs. Innovation in materials technologies and improved selection practices are seen as a potential way to prolong equipment life and lower these high maintenance costs. In many cases, polymers or composites are suitable alternatives to current materials used in the oil sands. There is a disconnect, however, between the oil sands operators and suppliers of polymer products with regard to the identification of these opportunities. This paper provides a general overview of various oil sands recovery and upgrading processes, and outlines areas where polymers and composites could be effectively utilized. Additionally, case studies are provided which highlight successful applications in current oil sands operations.
Keywords: downloadable, Polymers, Oil Sands, Material Selection, Corrosion, Wear