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MEI Online: Hydrometallurgy: Latest News: December 13th 2006


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:: Enbridge and Hatch Invest in N-Solv to Construct New Oil Sands Technology Pilot Plant

Enbridge Inc. and Hatch Ltd. announced today that they have become minority equity owners in N-Solv Corporation, and proceeds from the investment will be used to develop an N-Solv pilot plant in the Alberta oil sands region. The plant is designed to demonstrate the commercial viability of N-Solv’s patented technology for extraction of in-situ oil sands reserves.

The N-Solv technology uses a solvent-based process to extract bitumen from in-situ reserves. N-Solv has the potential to reduce capital costs by up to 50% and reduce the energy costs by up to 85% compared with other in-situ processes such as steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD). In addition, the N-Solv process produces a higher quality and more valuable bitumen.

"We are extremely pleased to have the strong support of two significant industry leaders in Enbridge and Hatch as we move to the final stage of our demonstration process," said John Nenniger, N-Solv Corporation President & CEO. “We believe that the N-Solv technology has the potential to significantly accelerate in-situ oil sands development through N-Solv’s substantially lower operating and capital costs compared with those of existing technologies."

N-Solv is currently working with Japan Canada Oil Sands Ltd. (JACOS) on the design of the demonstration operation. Construction of the plant is expected to begin in 2007 on the Hangingstone property owned and operated by JACOS, and be operational with the N-Solv technology in the field by 2008. The demonstration plant will have a peak capacity of about 2,000 barrels per day of bitumen production.

Total capital and operating costs to construct the plant and demonstrate the technology are expected to be about $45 million.

"Enbridge is pleased to invest $15 million for a minority interest in N-Solv," said Jim Schultz, Enbridge Senior Vice President, New Ventures. "This is a unique opportunity to invest in a technology that has the potential to be a cost-effective and eco-friendly process that can benefit a large number of our customers with in-situ properties. If successful, it might also lead to new pipeline infrastructure opportunities for Enbridge."

"Hatch has a reputation for the successful scale-up of process technology, and the implementation of innovative solutions to technical challenges that we are pleased to bring to this project," said Kurt Strobele, Hatch Ltd.’s Chairman & CEO. "Hatch has been involved in the development of similar extraction technologies for a number of years and is very pleased to have the opportunity to use our technical expertise and engineering resources to take the N-Solv technology to the field."

N-Solv Corporation is a Calgary-based company that holds patents and patent applications for the extraction of bitumen from in-situ oil sands reserves using its unique solvent-based process. It is a private company owned by Nenniger Inc., Hatch and Enbridge.




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