The BEST (Bitumen Extraction Solvent Technology) Pilot Plant demonstrated N-Solv energy technology at field scale and is the result of collaboration between N-Solv Corporation and Suncor Energy, with support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

Suncor’s Dover lease in Athabasca was the host site for the 500 barrel-per-day facility; comprising a 300 metre horizontal well pair and a surface plant for processing produced hydrocarbons. The N-Solv process uses the proven horizontal well technology developed for the Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage process, but differs significantly in that it does not use any water. Instead, N-Solv uses warm propane or butane, which is injected as a vapor, and condenses underground, washing the valuable compounds out of the bitumen. The science of the N-Solv process has been validated at the laboratory scale and required field piloting in order to demonstrate commercial readiness.

The process is expected to produced a lighter, partially upgraded, and more valuable oil product and may recover more resource from each well at lower capital and operating costs than existing in-situ processes.

The GHG benefits associated with the technology are derived from two sources: extraction emissions and from a significant reduction in downstream upgrading requirements.