Stratigraphic Architecture of a Large-scale Point-bar Complex in the McMurray Formation: Syncrude’s Mildred Lake Mine, Alberta, Canada
Thomas R. Nardin, Howard R. Feldman, B. Joan Carter, 2013. "Stratigraphic Architecture of a Large-scale Point-bar Complex in the McMurray Formation: Syncrude’s Mildred Lake Mine, Alberta, Canada", Heavy-oil and Oil-sand Petroleum Systems in Alberta and Beyond, Frances J. Hein, Dale Leckie, Steve Larter, John R. Suter
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Canada’s largest bitumen resource is contained within the McMurray Formation, a complex deepening-upward fluvial-estuarine succession typified by abrupt facies changes, inclined stratal geometries, and high-relief unconformities. Within this succession, fluvial-estuarine point-bar reservoirs represent a significant fraction of the resource that can be developed through surface mining and in-situ thermal recovery processes such as steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD). At Syncrude Canada Ltd.’s Mildred Lakemine, closely spaced core-hole data are tied to high-wall exposures of a point-bar succession that is 55m (180 ft) thick and occupies an area of at least 15 km2 (6 mi2). Data are integrated using two 3-D visualization tools: light detection and ranging (LIDAR), a laser technology that produces high-resolution digital terrain models of the outcrop, and LogVu3D, an application that displays large sets of geophysical logs in a 3-D volume. The point-bar model developed here describes sand body dimensions, stratal stacking patterns, lithofacies distributions, and mudstone heterogeneity at a variety of scales. A conceptual model of steam chamber growth in a heterogeneous point bar is presented that has implications for steam chamber definition, resource assessment, reservoir modeling, and development well planning.
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Oil sands, including the Athabasca Oil Sands in northern Alberta, are the second largest hydrocarbon resource on earth. In the last decade, engineering technology has evolved that can now economically produce the bitumen resource in the oil sands. This volume showcases the geology of oil sands from around the world. It highlights the Athabasca Oil sands of northern Alberta and the geochemistry of the associated bitumen resource, but points directionally toward the development of other oil-sand deposits in the world. A novel feature is the ‘case study’ approach. Although much of the perspective is sedimentological and/or stratigraphic, the substance of the book should fine wide appeal to Earth scientists working in all geoscience domains.