High Quality "Recycle" Configuration Applicable to Bitumen from Athabasca
BAKERSFIELD, CA, June 6 /CNW/ - Ivanhoe Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: IVAN and TSX: IE) President and CEO Joe Gasca and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Robert Graham today announced the successful demonstration of the third and final processing configuration to be tested at the company's heavy oil upgrading (HTL(TM)) Commercial Demonstration Facility (CDF) in California. Completion of the successful test positions Ivanhoe Energy to proceed with the design and construction of full-scale, commercial HTL facilities.
The latest demonstration used a "Recycle" configuration, which is one of the operating modes that can be used to produce a "High Quality" upgraded product. High Quality modes typically would be applicable to bitumen production, wherein higher levels of upgrading and viscosity reduction, as well as significant by-product energy, are required. Bitumen production in the Athabasca oilsands in Western Canada is expected to be the most significant market for this mode of HTL operation.
This is the third processing configuration to be successfully demonstrated at the CDF. Ivanhoe Energy has previously announced successful demonstrations of a High Yield mode, where liquid yields are maximized, as well as a "Once Through" High Quality configuration that, similar to the Recycle High Quality configuration, emphasizes product quality and on-site energy production. The three configurations may be used independently, or in various combinations, to match processing modes to feedstock characteristics and production goals.
The most recent run used California vacuum tower bottoms (VTBs), which have an API gravity of 5.6 degrees. California VTBs are heavier than Athabasca bitumen, which typically has an API gravity of approximately 8 degrees. The properties of the upgraded oil produced in the Recycle High Quality configuration will be released as appropriate along with additional test run data. The next test run, scheduled for this quarter, will process Athabasca bitumen that has been provided by a major international integrated oil company.
"This successful demonstration of the Recycle mode complements other HTL configurations previously demonstrated in our California CDF. Ivanhoe Energy now has the full suite of tools to progress to full-scale commercial facilities in a number of markets around the world, especially where fuller upgrading and higher levels of on-site energy is required. The Athabasca oilsands represents the primary market opportunity that requires the configuration announced today," Joe Gasca said.
Dr. Robert Graham added, "This successful demonstration of the Recycle configuration fulfills the primary technical objectives that Ivanhoe Energy established for the CDF. This latest configuration provides us with significant flexibility to tailor our process to specific business opportunities. Future CDF operations will be deal-driven and will focus on the testing of heavy crudes in support of project development in Western Canada and around the world."
Ivanhoe Energy's proprietary, patented HTL(TM) heavy oil upgrading technology produces lighter, more valuable crude oil from heavy oil and bitumen at lower costs and in smaller-sized plants than conventional technologies. The process also produces by-product energy that can be used to generate steam or electricity.
Ivanhoe Energy will host a conference call today for investors and analysts at 4:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. PDT) to discuss its latest HTL technology developments. The conference call may be accessed by dialing toll-free 1-866-540-8136 in Canada and the United States, or toll 1-416-340-8010 in the Toronto area and internationally. A simultaneous webcast of the conference call will be provided through www.ivanhoeenergy.com and www.newswire.ca/webcast. If you are unable to participate in the call it will be archived for later playback by dialing toll 1-416-695-5800 and entering the pass code 3225431 followed by the number sign, or via www.ivanhoeenergy.com. The archived playback will be available until July 6, 2007.
Ivanhoe Energy is an independent international heavy oil development and production company focused on pursuing long-term growth in its reserves and production using advanced technologies, including its proprietary heavy oil upgrading process (HTLTM). Core operations are in the United States and China, with business development opportunities worldwide. Ivanhoe Energy trades on the NASDAQ Capital Market with the ticker symbol IVAN and on the Toronto Stock Exchange with the symbol IE.
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: This document includes forward-looking statements, including forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning the potential benefits of Ivanhoe Energy's heavy oil upgrading technology, the potential for commercialization and future application of the heavy oil upgrading technology and other statements which are not historical facts. When used in this document, the words such as "could," "plan," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "potential," "should," and similar expressions relating to matters that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Although Ivanhoe Energy believes that its expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, such statements involve risks and uncertainties and no assurance can be given that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements include the potential that the HTL process to upgrade heavy oil and bitumen may not be commercially viable, market acceptance of the HTL technology may not be as anticipated, Ivanhoe Energy's lack of history in developing commercial HTL opportunities, competition and other risks disclosed in Ivanhoe Energy's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on EDGAR and the Canadian Securities Commissions on SEDAR.