N-Solv™ was founded with the objective of developing and commercializing an in-situ gravity drainage process that utilizes warm solvent vapor as its working fluid.
N-Solv™ holds a significant intellectual property portfolio of patents, both granted and pending, and know-how related to the technology; the portfolio is accessible to clients via licensing, joint ventures, or other partnership forms.
In practice, the N-Solv™ process via The BEST (Bitumen Extraction Solvent Technology) Pilot Plant will demonstrate N-Solv™ technology at field scale and is the collaboration of N-Solv™ Corporation and Suncor Energy, with grant support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). Suncor’s Dover lease in the Athabasca is the host site for the 500 barrel-per-day facility, comprising a 300-m horizontal wellpair 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 (SAGD) 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 now requires field piloting in order to demonstrate commercial readiness.
The process is expected to produce a lighter, partially upgraded, and hence, more valuable, oil product and may recover more resource from each well at lower capital and operating costs than existing in-situ processes. On a lifecycle basis, the GHG intensity improvement over the baseline, SAGD, is estimated at 93 kg/bbl CO2e. The GHG benefits associated with the technology are derived from two sources: extraction emissions (those associated with liberating oil from the ground) and from a significant reduction in downstream upgrading requirements (and consequently, energy consumption). Once demonstrated at field scale, N-Solv™ has the potential to deliver a 19 megatonne GHG reduction in the first 5 years after commercialization and 110 megatonnes of GHG reduction in the first 10 years, while contributing $35 billion of incremental value to the Alberta economy. Also, the process uses no water, lessening the oilsands’ demand on this scarce resource and adding greater flexibility to plant siting.
Joseph Kuhach was appointed CEO of N-Solv Corporation in October 2014 and is responsible for leading the organization to achieve its business objectives which include commercializing its proprietary heavy oil recovery technology. He has 29 years of energy industry experience focused predominantly on heavy oil recovery and upgrading. Preceding his appointment with N-Solv, Joseph was Sr. Vice President Upstream Technology and Integration with Ivanhoe Energy responsible for global upstream technology and for providing strategic leadership in assessing and developing Ivanhoe’s assets. Prior to joining Ivanhoe in 2005, Mr. Kuhach spent 20 years with Shell and subsidiaries in engineering and management positions. As Manager of Technology he oversaw heavy oil recovery efforts for Shell’s largest thermal assets including Belridge, Cymric, McKittrick, and Lost Hills fields. During his time with Shell, Mr. Kuhach was a leader in advancing horizontal well implementation in thermal recovery applications. He led the effort to design and implement Shell’s first grass roots thermal horizontal well project. Mr. Kuhach has published numerous papers and is a past technical editor for Society of Petroleum Engineering (SPE) Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering magazine.
Mr. Kuhach was appointed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Educational Council and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from MIT as well as a Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Refining from Colorado School of Mines.
Hatch is a global engineering, technologies, and execution company with 11,000 employees working in three sectors: Metals, Energy and Infrastructure.
Kurt has been with Hatch since 1973, when he joined the firm after receiving his Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He had received his B.Sc., Engineering, Cum Laude, from Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1968.
Kurt has over 40 years of experience in metallurgical plant design, process consulting and project and construction management, and as a leader of scale-ups for innovative processes and technologies around the world.
Kurt has held several senior positions within Hatch, including, Vice-President, Computer Systems; Vice-President, Engineering; Managing Director, Industrial Minerals; and Managing Director, Light Metals, which included scale-up and commercialization of new processes.
Dr. John Nenniger, Sc.D., FCAE
Founder & CTO
John initiated the development of what is now the N-Solv™ process, starting with early calculations and lab experiments in the late 1990s. John has been a research and consulting engineer in the oil and gas industry for more than 25 years, and has built a reputation for developing cost-effective and reliable technology for various industry problems throughout his career.
John holds a Doctorate of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and, in 2007, was elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineers.
Mr. Paul Krawchuk
Vice President Operations
Paul is a senior engineer with 15 years of experience in engineering and management of projects for the oil and gas industry, specifically in the area of heavy oil recovery. He has diverse expertise in all aspects of upstream activities including operations, drilling, completions, production, facilities, construction and project management. He is adept at dealing with non-conventional reservoirs and EOR processes, having worked with recovery methods that have included steam floods, cyclic steam injection, SAGD, and solvent processes.
Paul brings his extensive experience from over a dozen different heavy oil projects in Canada, the United States, and South America.
Mr. Murray Smith
Vice President Business Development
A member of N-Solv’s board of directors, Murray is former provincial politician, having served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1993 until 2004. In 2001, Murray was named Minister of Energy is credited with securing international recognition of Alberta’s 176 billion barrels of established oil reserves—including 174 billion barrels of oilsands. During his tenure, Alberta annual oil and gas royalty revenue rose to over $9 billion, a record number of wells were drilled (over 20,000), and over $60 billion in investment was committed to Alberta oilsands projects.
Murray also expanded the Alberta’s reach internationally when he served as the Official Representative of the Province of Alberta to the United States of America. Murray is a frequent commentator and source for energy analysis for US and Canadian print and electronic media.
Murray is also a frequent presenter and speaker to investor organizations and conferences.
Mr. Alex Stickler
Vice President Business Operations
Prior to his role at N-Solv, Alex served as Hatch’s Director for Oil & Gas Technologies, looking after the company’s technology investments and internal developments in that sector, and has worked as a professional in the field of development and commercialization of industrial technologies for over 15 years.
Alex holds a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Denver, and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.