A new stable isotope approach was used to determine the total dissolved solids concentration and stable isotope composition for oil sands drill core extracted porewater at the Suncor–Firebag oil sands field in northeastern Alberta, Canada. A stable isotope mixing approach was used to correct for contamination by drilling fluids in the porewater samples. The mean isotopic compositions of oxygen (δ18O) and hydrogen (δ2H) in water for fluid samples from 12 wells at Firebag were −20.5 ± 1.4‰ and −157 ± 11‰, respectively. The mean total dissolved solids (TDS) concentration of the reservoir formation water in 12 sampled wells was 1100 ± 400 mg/L (1σ). These results suggest that the McMurray Formation water at Firebag is primarily derived from Holocene groundwater recharge, and that the water within the bitumen reservoir is similar to groundwater well samples obtained within the McMurray Formation at Firebag. The results obtained in this study are consistent with regional trends and previously proposed local hydrogeological flow conditions.

You do not currently have access to this article.