A recent article posted on the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) web site highlights the efforts of one Canadian company to improve “in situ”, or underground, oil production processes. According to the piece, Petrobank Energy and Resources, a Calgary-based energy and technology company, has spent the past three years field-testing its THAI™ (Toe to Heel Air Injection) technology. The technology advances the science of heating and loosening bitumen deep underground and subsequently pumping it to the surface. Environmental as well as production efficiencies are gained in this process, in part, by minimizing the amount of water and natural gas needed to heat the bitumen in a horizontal underground reservoir. This is accomplished by heating only the bitumen around the “toe” of the underground well, and completing the heating process by creating a combustion reaction through targeted air injection. The technology reportedly produces other benefits as well, including minimal water usage, a smaller surface footprint, a partial upgrade of this low-grade hydrocarbon while still underground by virtue of the combustion process, and residual materials produced by the process serving as fuel for continued combustion.