MIAMI, March 11, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In a move that marks the Company's entry into the enormous Alberta Oil Sands market, Abakan Inc. (OTCQB:ABKI) ("Abakan") today announced that, along with the lead project partner, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), Abakan's 72% owned subsidiary, MesoCoat, has received a $2.75 million funding commitment from Alberta's Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education (IAE) and Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) for an 18-month collaborative effort to establish a prototype demonstration facility for developing, testing and commercializing wear-resistant clad pipe and components. Improvements in wear resistance are expected to make a significant impact in reducing losses due to maintenance and downtime while increasing productivity in oil sands and other mining applications.
The Alberta oil sands have proven reserves estimated at more than 169 billion barrels, making it one of the world's largest oil resources. Much of the oil is extracted by mining and the use of hydro-transport pipelines to carry the oil laden bitumen from the mining site to the up-graders and refiners, and subsequently to return the waste sand and rock back to the mining sites to fill in the pits that were mined. The cost of maintenance of these hydro-transport pipelines and the associated downtime in Alberta is estimated at more than $10 billion annually. According to the Materials and Reliability in Oil Sands (MARIOS) consortium in Alberta, this figure is expected to increase significantly as production expands in the coming years. Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board expects output from the province's oil sands to double to 3.8 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2022, from the 1.9 million bpd in 2012. Therefore, this project is an important initiative aimed a reducing these enormous losses associated with that downtime.
"Our objective in Alberta is to fast-track the commercialization of our CermaClad™ long-life, wear-resistant clad pipes and components," said Abakan CEO, Mr. Robert Miller. "Once our products are adopted in Alberta, we anticipate acceptance for mining applications around the globe. Currently, pipes have to be rotated every three to four months and are replaced every 12 to 15 months. We intend to increase the life of these pipes and components using a combination of our advanced materials and high-speed large-area coating technology."
"The oil majors that mine the oil sands in Alberta have primarily been using the same two coating materials for the past forty years, tungsten-carbide and chrome-carbide, to protect their hydro-transport pipe," continued Mr. Miller. "Our wear-resistant clad products have shown two to four times improvement in wear and corrosion resistance in laboratory tests, compared to weld overlays currently in use, at costs that are lower than currently available alternatives."
"Producers are looking to extend the life of carbon steel transport pipes with harder, tougher coatings that protect them from the abrasiveness and high acidity of the tar-like bituminous oil sands. CermaClad wear-resistant clad products that will be developed through this collaborative effort with NAIT can provide that economically viable, long-term solution," concluded Mr. Miller.
About the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With more than 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta's prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta's top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.
About Abakan Inc.
Abakan develops, manufactures, and markets advanced nanocomposite materials, innovative fabricated metal products and highly engineered metal composites for applications in the oil and gas, petrochemical, mining, aerospace and defense, energy, infrastructure and processing industries. Abakan's technology portfolio currently includes high-speed, large-area metal cladding technology; long-life nanocomposite anti-corrosion and wear coating materials. Abakan's products have demonstrated longer life, higher productivity and extremely high strength-to-weight ratios compared to competing technologies. The Abakan group of companies has been honored by The Wall Street Journal as the #1 Manufacturing Innovation across the globe, by Pipeline Industries Guild as the Top Subsea Pipeline Technology, by Forbes as the #1 Most Promising Material Science Company in the United States, by American Metals Market with the Steel Excellence Award, by Inc. 500 as one of the Fastest Growing Manufacturing Company in the U.S., and has received numerous other trade, industry and technology awards including five R&D 100 Awards and a Technology Innovation Award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Over $50 million has been invested in product development and testing by federal agencies, national labs and our companies in order to deliver products that offer improved performance over the current state of art. Abakan has successfully introduced its metal coatings for metal asset protection and life extension in the oil and gas and mining industries, and is currently focusing on the scale-up and commercialization of its highly disruptive metal cladding products for the oil and gas, oil sands, and mining industries. Abakan currently operates from multiple locations in United States, and intends to expand global operations in South America, Canada and Indo-China.
A number of statements contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. These forward looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties including technological obsolescence, market acceptance of future products, competitive market conditions, and the sufficiency of capital resources. The actual results Abakan may achieve could differ materially from any forward-looking statements due to such risks and uncertainties. Abakan encourages the public to read the information provided here in conjunction with its most recent filings on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q. Abakan's public filings may be viewed at www.sec.gov.
CONTACT: Abakan Inc. Robert Miller, Chief Executive Officer Phone: 786-206-5368 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.abakaninc.com Investor Relations Surety Financial Group, LLC Phone: 410-833-0078 www.suretyfingroup.com