Carbon Dioxide Extraction System for the Recovery of Oil from Drilling Waste

Solution developer

SCFCan Inc.

Project description

Drill operations generate drilling waste that represent an economic cost for the oil and gas sector and an environmental cost for society. The economic cost is driven by the lost valuable resource (oil-, synthetic-, or enhanced mineral oil-based drilling fluid) and the cost of waste disposal (dominantly landfilling). The environmental cost is primarily driven by the GHG emissions associated with new drilling fluid production needed to replace the oil lost with landfilled drilling waste and the GHG emissions generated by the anaerobic degradation of oil disposed in landfills.

SCFCan’s oil extraction system uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and modest temperature (“supercritical”) as the extraction solvent. The extraction system features fully continuous feed of the cuttings to be treated and removal of the treated material and recovered oil. The objectives of the project are to field demonstrate the technology at a rig location.  The project will demonstrate that the recovered oil is suitable for direct reuse by the rig and demonstrate the economic and environmental performance.

The technology offers a 75% reduction in life cycle GHG emissions relative to landfilling. The cost of oil recovery is projected to be less than half of new oil prices, leading to an economic win for the drilling rig. Scaling to all 2,500 wells drilled in Western Canada alone in 2020, the system has the potential to recover almost 900,000 barrels of oil (worth more than $100 million annually) and reduce GHG’s by 0.7 Mt CO2e compared to the status quo approach.

Support requested

Market pull partner


Focus areas

  • Novel Hydrocarbon Extraction
  • Methane Emissions Monitoring, Quantification or Abatement
  • Land and Wellsite Reclamation


  • TRL 6 – Product and/or process prototype demonstration in relevant environment