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Sean Sanders

Sean Sanders

Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering
University of Alberta

Chair title

NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Pipeline Transport Processes

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Associate Chairholder since 2008


In the development of the world's heavy oil and bitumen resources, pipelines are more than a simple means of transportation — they are an enabling technology because the in-pipe processes that occur during transport are at least as important as the ability to move material between two locations. In-pipe processes are critical to the effective production, processing and transportation of heavy crude oils and bitumen. For example, more than one million barrels of bitumen per day will be produced just from in-situ/SAGD operations by 2012. Research in the areas of down-hole flow assurance, water-assisted or core-annular pipeline flows, and oil-water-diluent-sand flows has great potential to improve resource utilization in in-situ production.

In oil sand mining and bitumen extraction processes, there are many areas of oil sand slurry flow research that have the potential to provide step-change improvements in plant operability and reliability. Examples include reduced pipeline and pump wear, the development of at-face slurry preparation technology and the effective transport and placement of thickened tailings mixtures.

The focus of the Industrial Research Chair in Pipeline Transport Processes will be pre-competitive, exploratory research in areas relevant to the heavy oil and oil sands industries. It will make contributions to the science of multiphase transport, including novel measurement techniques to observe in-situ flow conditions and the development of the next generation of powerful multiphase flow simulation tools.

The Chairholder held various positions with Syncrude Canada Ltd. for nearly 10 years before accepting a position at the University of Alberta.


  • Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.
  • Fort Hills Energy L.P. – Petro-Canada
  • Nexen Canada Ltd.
  • Saskatchewan Research Council
  • Shell Canada – Albian Sands Energy Inc.
  • Syncrude Canada Ltd.
  • Total E&P Canada Ltd.
  • University of Alberta

Contact information

Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering
University of Alberta
Chemical and Materials Engineering Bldg, Room 536
Edmonton, Alberta
T6G 2G6

Tel.: 780-492-0981
Fax: 780-492-2881
Email: sean.sanders@ualberta.ca


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