Chapter 8: Elastic Property Changes in a Bitumen Reservoir during Steam Injection
Ayato Kato, Shigenobu Onozuka, Toru Nakayama, 2010. "Elastic Property Changes in a Bitumen Reservoir during Steam Injection", Heavy Oils: Reservoir Characterization and Production Monitoring, Satinder Chopra, Laurence R. Lines, Douglas R. Schmitt, Michael L. Batzle
Download citation file:
The Hangingstone steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operation of Japan Canada Oil Sands Limited (JACOS) is approximately 50 km south-southwest of Fort McMurray in northern Alberta, Canada. JACOS started the operation in 1997 and has produced bitumen since 1999. The oil-sands reservoirs in Hangingstone occur in the Lower Cretaceous McMurray formation and are approximately 300 m in depth. The sedimentary environments are fluvial to upper estuarine channel fill, and the oil-sands reservoirs correspond to vertically stacked incised valley fill with very complex vertical and horizontal distribution.
A time-lapse seismic survey was conducted to monitor the steam movement. Identical processing was used for the 2002 baseline survey and the 2006 monitoring survey. A related chapter by Nakayama et al. in this book investigates differences between the data sets in the reservoir zone and shows significant difference in the seismic response around the production areas where steam was injected. Figure 1 shows seismic sections from both surveys. The large difference in the seismic response and time delay are interpreted as effects of steam injection.
Figures & Tables
Heavy oil is an important global resource with reserves comparable to those of conventional oil. As conventional resources get thinner, attention is being focused on heavy oil and bitumen, which hold the promise of becoming useful fuels. Already more than 1 million barrels of oil are being produced from the oil sands in Canada; heavy oil represents half of California’s crude oil production in the United States and is a major production in Mexico. With demand for global energy soaring, heavy oil will undoubtedly be an important resource to be exploited in a big way in the near future.
The SEG Development and Production Committee held its Heavy Oil Forum in Edmonton, Alberta, in July 2007. This was a joint research forum cosponsored by the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (CSEG) and SEG and hosted by the University of Alberta. Preceding the forum, a field trip took the participants to the vast Athabasca Oil Sands region where they observed the outcrops, open pit mining, and steam injection operations, followed by a tour of the steam-assisted gravity drainage projects. Topics of the well-attended forum included the definition of heavy oil; where is heavy oil found; how it is produced; heavy-oil reservoir characterization; fluid and rock properties; electrical, tilt, and gravity techniques; borehole, surface seismic measurements; and microseismicity.