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Gene Wasylchuk

GERI (General Energy Recovery Inc.) is an Alberta-headquartered service company specialised in enhanced heavy-oil recovery. With a mission of “Recovering More, Emitting Less”, we aim to enable oil producers to achieve the tricky balance of boosting recovery, decarbonizing at speed, and ensuring healthy returns on abatement investments.

Our award-winning Direct Contact Steam Generation (DCSG) technology unlocks otherwise un-recoverable oil reserves at low carbon intensity by co-injecting a single stream of steam (or hot water) and combustion exhaust gases (CO 2 and N 2 ) into oil reservoirs.

Most greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in thermal heavy-oil recovery are generated during the creation of high-pressure steam that is injected into reservoirs to get highly viscous oil to flow. By contrast, GERI’s technology co-injects steam and combustion exhaust gases downhole, simultaneously improving the efficiency of oil recovery (by adding both heat and pressure) and mitigating the atmospheric release of GHGs, permanently storing much of the CO 2 in the reservoir. Initial pilots of GERI’s DCSG technology have shown as much as 70 per cent of the CO 2 injected downhole remaining underground, and in all cases oil production increasing significantly over the baseline rate.

GERI’s technology is not net zero, but it is a readily available transition solution between a high emissions ‘present’ and a net zero ‘distant future’. We can significantly reduce emissions and we are proven, portable and ready to go, today.

Tell us about yourself?

I joined GERI in 2023 as interim Chief Executive Officer, just as the team was ramping up its transition from R&D and field trials to commercialization. Joining GERI presented me with the opportunity to have a meaningful, positive impact on the environment and society, which is something I’m passionate about and have worked to achieve throughout my career. I believe GERI has the potential to become one of the leading innovators in EOR and will play an important role in the global energy transition, and I feel fortunate to be on the team here.

My passion for making a positive impact on society extends to my personal time as well. I’ve become involved with the Alberta and BC Guide Dog Association, where I am helping train guide dogs that will ultimately go on to change the lives of people with autism and PTSD. I recently brought my puppy “student” to the office because it’s a great training ground. Our team enjoyed having the visitor, even if it was hard to not pet him while he was “working” and learning to ignore distractions.

I also mentor students as part of the Calgary Downtown Rotary Stay in School program and volunteer with the Mustard Seed and other non-profit organizations that care for people experiencing homelessness and poverty.

Prior to joining GERI, I held various senior executive positions in the oil and gas sector, including President and CEO of Altair Water and Drilling Services Inc., Vice President of Midstream – Engineering, Geotechnical and New Ventures at Tervita Corporation, and President and CEO of Deep Resources Ltd. I also founded and led Creator Energy Innovations, a company that developed integrated and balanced power solutions using renewable and conventional energy sources.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Focus on collaborating with other industry players, governments, and consumers to achieve common goals. In my previous roles, we spent too much time working as isolated groups and failed to coordinate our efforts on emissions reductions. Stakeholder groups can achieve their common goals faster and yield better results by sharing information and working together.

General Energy Recovery

What problem does your business solve?

Consulting firm Bain & Company highlighted in their 2023 Energy and Natural Resources report that, “meeting the growing demand for energy while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the central challenge of the 21st century”.

Oil demand is still growing and isn’t expected to peak before 2030 at the earliest, or even possibly as late as in a couple of decades, yet most listed oil companies have publicly announced aggressive emissions reduction targets.

The ability to create acceptable returns on emissions reduction projects remains a key barrier to decarbonization though and abatement technologies such as carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) require significant investment. They’re also unlikely to generate positive returns for years to come and are expected to remain small in scale and impact for the near to mid-term future.

GERI’s DCSG co-injection technology on the other hand, doesn’t require any significant infrastructure investment and can rapidly generate positive returns by improving the efficiency and carbon intensity of current EOR efforts, extending the lifespan of existing oil reserves thereby reducing the need for new exploration and drilling, and reducing exposure to both increasing carbon taxes and higher borrowing costs.

In a nutshell, GERI’s DCSG co-injection technology enables oil companies to jump start their decarbonization efforts and make their emissions abatement math work.

General Energy Recovery

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The precursor to GERI was a company called Fortune Energy Inc. They were a conventional producer, acquiring leases and developing and producing wells. Like most heavy-oil producers, they struggled with maximizing recovery after primary production, often producing only four to 10 per cent of a reservoir and abandoning the rest. This endless cycle of exploration, development and low yield production was costly, especially for small company.

In the early 2010s, Fortune Energy’s owner decided to pivot away from exploration and production to focus on inventing a completely new way of enhancing heavy oil recovery instead. One that would finally allow producers to recover more than the standard four to 10 per cent of the original oil in place. Fortune Energy sold their producing assets and got to work. GERI was founded in July 2013 as a fully owned subsidiary of Fortune Energy, and the two entities merged a year later.

What is your magic sauce?

Injecting steam together with combustion exhaust gases into the reservoir traps CO 2 underground, reducing overall emissions by up to 67 per cent when compared to conventional steaming technologies. The magic part is that these injected combustion exhaust gases also provide a multitude of supplementary oil recovery benefits:

  1. Re-pressurisation of the reservoir/drive mechanism
  2. Lowering of oil viscosity through CO 2 dissolution
  3. Creation of an ‘insulation blanket’ (trapping heat)
  4. Improvement of sweep efficiency (gas override). Recovering more, emitting less!

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Our pilots and clients to date have been Canada-based. Western Canada has tens of thousands of candidate wells which meet the initial screening criteria for GERI’s technology: suitable oil density and a depth of less than 1000m. Of these, almost half are currently inactive (either shut-in, abandoned or zonally abandoned) but increasingly, market growth is focusing on optimizing existing wells and reducing carbon intensity, rather than satisfying increasing oil demand via the drilling of new wells.

There are also substantial under-tapped heavy-oil reserves around the globe and we’re currently in early-stage conversations with potential clients in the Middle East.

While our immediate focus is on converting these leads into clients, we’re also working on identifying potential licensing and/or production partners that would enable us to scale rapidly and profitably and re-invest some of our profits into R&D so we can keep improving and evolving our technology.

Part of our long-term plan for example, is to identify and work with industries outside the oil and gas sector which also produce and use high-pressure steam and who could benefit from our technology to recover (or produce) more and emit fewer greenhouse gases.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

As we interact with more potential clients, both inside and outside Canada, it’s becoming increasingly clear that market dynamics are moving firmly in our favour. GERI and its co-injection technology are in the right place (Canada is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer but one with strict emissions regulations), at the right time (significant decarbonization must happen today, despite growing oil demand), with the right product (we are ready to go, rapidly deployable, and require no elaborate infrastructure construction).

However, no two project applications are the same, each one comes with slightly different challenges, risks, and rewards. As a result, many companies are choosing a wait-and-see approach, preferring to be second adopters rather than first. Despite this, we have two upcoming projects in the pipeline with applications already submitted for regulatory approvals and we are in ongoing discussions with half a dozen interested parties at various stages of progress. We’re confident that once we have a handful of visible clients on board, the results will speak for themselves.

How can people get involved?

You can contact us through our portal at