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October 1, 2010

High-tech oilsands project near Fort McMurray, Alberta could change industry

VANCOUVER

Value Creation Inc. is planning the construction of a new high-tech oilsands project near Fort McMurray, Alta. that will transform bitumen into a form that can be used directly by most refineries, a major technical step forward in oilsands technology, the company says.

“We fondly call this initiative Value Creation In Motion (VcIM),” said Columba Yeung, chairman and chief executive officer of Value Creation Group.

BA Energy, a subsidiary of Value Creation Inc. (VCI), has filed an application with the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) to build a pilot project that produces 1,000 barrel a day using steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) technology on its TriStar leases in the Athabasca oilsands area. BA’s business strategy is based on applying VCI’s proprietary technology with SAGD to develop its oilsands leases.

This new upgrading technology aims to simplify the complexity of the production process by directly upgrading the SAGD wellhead slurry of bitumen emulsion.

This means refiners can process the modified crude and avoid double processing in the upgrader.

The refinery will no longer need high-power desulphurization or sulphur-removal units.

VCI upgrading technology includes two processes.

The first process takes hot bitumen emulsion and the produced water directly from the SAGD wells and produces clean decontaminated oil.

This premium heavy oil contains small amounts of asphaltenes and can be transported with little or no diluent.

The extracted asphaltenes can be sold as solid fuel or used as a fuel for steam generation. The water produced through this process contains minimal oil and requires nominal de-oiling prior to water treatment and steam generation.

The second process can produce either synthetic crude oil or diluent. It can also produce synthetic gas that can be used for steam generation.

For this reason the new technology could provide VCI with a significant competitive advantage in capital and operating costs.

BA Energy was the first oilsands company to file for bankruptcy protection in January 2009.

After running into cash-flow problems, the company halted construction on the $4-billion Heartland Upgrader near Edmonton.

The project was partially completed, when BA quietly shut the project down in September 2009.

The TrisStar project will serve to prove the viability and feasibility of the new technology, before BA moves forward with the Heartland Upgrader.

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