A Tribute to UTF: An Example of Success

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Source: history.alberta.ca
                                             Source: history.alberta.ca

The cover article of the September issue of Oilsands Review has been dedicated to the memory of UTF (Underground Test Facility) that was recently sealed forever by thousands of meters of concrete. Probably for a long time, UTF’s story remains a great example of government investment towards industrial and economical success. UTF is the industrial birthplace of Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) that is, now, responsible for more than half of Alberta’s oilsands production from wells with an outstanding recovery efficiency of up to 80%. The original idea of SAGD came from Roger Butler but it was the AOSTRA‘s UTF that brought this concept to life in an industrial scale. In absence of the technology required for drilling horizontal wells all the way from the ground surface, the horizontal wells in this project were drilled from an underground tunnel. One thing that has always been attractive for me is the amount of monitoring and research spent on caricaturization of this methodology. Valuable geomechanical studies have been done on this project and I, especially, like the works of Rick Chalaturnyk and Patrick Collins. If you are a petroleum professional and, also, interested in history, this article may suit your taste very well, I think.

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