By Jody MacPherson
Fort McMurray Express, May 14, 1986
Shell Canada Limited will soon begin testing a new method of extracting bitumen from the tar sands.
“If the process proves to be more economical, it could be a bit boost to the Fort McMurray area,” says Peter Morgan, president of DB-Stearns Engineering.
DB-Stearns has been contracted to supervise the transportation of several hundred tons of tar sands to a testing facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Morgan says he does not know of any facility in Canada which is equipped to test the new process, developed by Solv-Ex Corporation.
A local company, Gable Construction Ltd. is doing the excavation at Shell’s lease site in the Fort McKay area. Morgan says a trucking company in the Fort McMurray area, Bitterroot International Systems Ltd. has begun transporting the tar sands south.
An engineer from DB-Stearns is on his way to New Mexico to supervise the first tests of the process, which are scheduled to begin next week, says Brian Cook, of Shell Canada Limited.
Morgan says the process is different than the one currently being used at Syncrude and Suncor. They use hot water to extract the bitumen while the method developed by Solv-Ex uses water and solvent.