Heavy Oil and Bitumen Petroleum Systems in Alberta and Beyond: The Future is Nonconventional and the Future is Now
Frances J. Hein, Dale Leckie, Steve Larter, John R. Suter, 2013. "Heavy Oil and Bitumen Petroleum Systems in Alberta and Beyond: The Future is Nonconventional and the Future is Now", Heavy-oil and Oil-sand Petroleum Systems in Alberta and Beyond, Frances J. Hein, Dale Leckie, Steve Larter, John R. Suter
Download citation file:
Global bitumen and heavy-oil resources are estimated to be 5.6 trillion bbl, with most of that occurring in the western hemisphere. In the past decade, significant advances in the development and production of these resources have occurred by way of the critical integration of geology, geophysics, engineering, modeling economics, and transportation. Bitumen and heavy-oil deposits are mainly unconsolidated sands bound together by biodegraded bitumen. In the case of the world's largest oil-sand and heavy-oil deposit, located in western Canada, the oil sands occur in deposits of low sedimentary accommodation on the distal side of a foreland basin. Hydrocarbons were derived from Mississippian Exshaw and/or Mesozoic source rocks. The hydrocarbons accumulated in tidally influenced fluvioestuarine sediments, midchannel bars, brackish bays, bay-hed deltas, and tidal flats. Elsewhere, in another major global heavy-oil resource, the Oficina Formation in Venezuela was similarly deposited in fluvioestuarine to deltaic settings. Current in-situ oil-sand development focuses on steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) technology and, to a lesser degree, cyclic steam stimulation (CSS). Other emerging technologies being piloted include in-situ combustion, electrothermal dynamic stripping, and passive heating-assisted recovery methods.