Located in northeastern Alberta Canada, the Athabasca Oil Sands (also known as the Athabasca Tar Sands) are large deposits of bitumen, which is an extremely viscous form of petroleum
Currently, there are two main recovery technologies that are employed to recover the bitumen from the ground. They are called, open pit (or conventional mining), and steam assisted gravity displaced (SAGD). With each type of bitumen recovery techniques, there are unique challenges placed on the valve technologies being used in the processes. Open pit techniques require knife gate valves to be resistant to heavy impacts and abrasion, and to be able to operate at high pressures. Knife gate valves in SAGD applications need to be resistant to high temperatures and corrosion, and be able to function properly in the presence of scaling deposits on the interior of the valve or associated piping.