BioLargo Spotlight: Oil and Gas Industry in Alberta and the AOS

Originally posted on August 27, 2018

Albertan Oil Sands deposits in Canada cover a surface area of over 140 000 km2 and represent major value for Canada as quantified in Figure 1. These deposits are a mixture of bitumen, clay, moisture, and sand. Bitumen extraction requires on average of 3.1 barrels of freshwater for every barrel of oil produced. Water is drawn from the nearby Athabasca River and the processed water is then stored in large tailings ponds shown in Figure 2. The environmental risks and the high costs associated with wastewater storage and onsite maintenance onsite represent major challenges to industry, regulators, and stakeholders. The oil sands process waters are different from other conventional Oil & Gas process water. It is still extremely toxic, however, not all OSPWs are similar in complexity and toxicity. 

Different organic compounds contribute to toxicity of OSPW. Naphthenic Acids (NAs)and polyaromatic hydrocarbons have been identified as toxic components in OSPW. Toxic effects of NAs are due to composition more than concentration. These compounds can damage nearby aquatic ecosystems upon their introduction, and it is therefore imperative to identify suitable protocols for the treatment of OSPW.

The AOS has the potential to introduce cost-efficient treatment of oil sands process-affected water as compared to conventional methods. It has a proven efficacy in eliminating naphthenic acids and polyaromatic hydrocarbons from synthetic water at significantly low energy consumption than competitors. BioLargo Water recently submitted a full project proposal for the Clean Growth Program in collaboration with two of the biggest oil sands companies in Alberta. This project will validate the AOS’ ability to remove these contaminants from real industrial OSPW in laboratory and field-simulated settings and will establish proof-of-claim evidence of the AOS’ ability to remediate OSPW. This will present a huge market opportunity the AOS as containment of OSPW in tailings ponds in Alberta is anticipated to reach more than 1 billion m3 of water by 2025. By 2040, these tailings are expected to occupy 310 Km3, an area nearly the size of Vancouver. Given the large volume of water in these ponds and possible leaching of toxicants to nearby environment, the importance of OSPW treatment is extremely high.

What is a BioLargo Spotlight?
It’s an exciting time at BioLargo. We’re moving fast, and it can be difficult to keep our stockholders and the investing public informed of our progress. In light of this, we will be posting a series of short articles titled “BioLargo Spotlight”, highlighting certain business activities and other important information in between our required SEC filings. Of course, these do not replace our public filings, which contain more complete information than can be delivered in this forum, and thus we urge you to carefully read and rely on those filings for definitive information, and to review our risk factors and caution regarding forward-looking statements. We are optimistic about our business as we work hard to continue to grow and ultimately generate profits for our stockholders.   

Legal Disclaimer
Our attorneys remind us that while we believe these developments are important and that these small victories could add up and lead to big victories, at this stage they do not rise to the level of an official material disclosure. As the size and magnitude of these developments become material, we will naturally report that information in an 8-K and our regular SEC filings.


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