The pilot plant project has now been in operation since the first week of November, 2005 at the Asphalt Ridge lease location. The joint venture partners are now stabilizing the pilot plant's production process, which will operate at per hour for 20 hours per day and a daily total of .
The joint venture partners' highly mobile extraction units are scalable and are easily transported. Tar sand extraction costs including transportation are extremely attractive at less than $12.50 USD per barrel. The joint venture partners have been focusing on stabilizing the production process with several system improvements including the winterization of the extraction plant and its support equipment to maintain processing levels at cold temperatures. A steam jacket has also been installed which creates drier sand and keeps the pumps, plumbing and the extraction chamber warmer during standby time, minimizing warm-up time.
System performance will also be improved with the installation of more powerful pumps and additional sensors for better indications of mass flow, temperature and material levels. The upgrade will provide better process control and will provide more precise data required in order to measure the system's performance. The joint venture partners intend to construct a commercial plant during 2006 which would have an annual production of at 91% capacity. If a tar sand deposit is thick and has 1.0 barrel of oil per cubic yard, it would result in only being processed per year, creating a minimal footprint, minimizing environmental impact and reducing remedial mining costs.
The joint venture partnership intends to expand to an additional lease location in the spring of 2006 and plans eventually to implement extraction plants on all 14 of its leases in the Utah Tar Sands. The partnership also intends on pursuing other joint venture opportunities in US, Canada and other countries in the world possessing oil sand resources.