When you think of Harris, "oil extraction" might not be the first thought that comes to mind. But since 2009, our Energy Solutions team has been developing a new process to help extract heavy oil from oil sands. Our efforts have initially focused on Canada, which has some of the world's largest oil sands deposits.

"Traditionally, oil sands producers have used steam to heat oil buried deep underground, with the steam making the oil flow more easily," explains Derik Ehresman, Energy Solutions Program Manager. "But steam-based recovery processes are expensive, water dependent, and energy and greenhouse gas-intensive."

To address these challenges, Harris' Energy Solutions team developed a new technology, HeatWave™, that enables producers to extract heavy oil at a lower cost and in a more environmentally friendly manner.

"While Harris might be a newer entrant to the energy market, HeatWave™ uses decades of our radio frequency, or RF, expertise," says Derik. "Just as a microwave heats food, HeatWave™ heats a reservoir by transmitting radio waves. It enables the Enhanced Solvent Extraction Incorporating Electromagnetic Heating (ESEIEH™ – pronounced "easy") process, which combines RF antenna technology and solvent injection to optimize the extraction process."

Essentially, Harris places a large antenna in the ground that heats the oil. Combined with the injection of a solvent, the process makes the oil easier to pump out, while dramatically lowering energy requirements, greenhouse gas emissions, and capital requirements compared to traditional steam-based methods. In fact, the team estimates that using HeatWave™ will lead to a 25% reduction in cost and a greater than 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Showcasing our technology
In June, Harris displayed HeatWave™ at the Global Petroleum Show, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Our representatives generated awareness of our innovative oil extraction technologies and educated oil sands producers about our capabilities and availability for supporting additional field trials. Next up, Harris will again showcase Heatwave™ at the World Heavy Oil Congress in September.