Chapter 16: Monitoring an Oil-sands Reservoir in Northeast Alberta Using Time-lapse 3D Seismic and 3D P-SV Converted-wave Data
Toru Nakayama, Akihisa Takahashi, Leigh Skinner, Ayato Kato, 2010. "Monitoring an Oil-sands Reservoir in Northeast Alberta Using Time-lapse 3D Seismic and 3D P-SV Converted-wave Data", Heavy Oils: Reservoir Characterization and Production Monitoring, Satinder Chopra, Laurence R. Lines, Douglas R. Schmitt, Michael L. Batzle
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Time-lapse 3D seismic monitoring was conducted in the Japan Canada Oil Sands Limited (JACOS) Hanging-stone steam-assisted-gravity-drainage (SAGD) operation area in Alberta, Canada, to delineate steam-affected areas. The time-lapse surveys, acquired in February 2002 and March 2006, show distinct response changes around the SAGD well pairs. In addition, 3D P-SV converted-wave processing and analysis were applied on the second 3D data set [recorded with three-component (3-C) digital sensors] for a reservoir characterization study. Background information on the Hangingstone SAGD operation is contained in Kato et al. (2008).
Time-lapse 3D Seismic Data
Figure 1 shows a map of the two 3D seismic surveys and SAGD well locations in the field. Black solid lines represent SAGD well paths, and the red dotted line indicates a north—south line (referred as NS hereafter) that will be used throughout this study. The first 3D seismic (baseline survey = 5.4 km2) was acquired in 2002 to construct detailed 3D geologic models for reservoir characterization. The production of the five eastern SAGD well pairs (A, B, C, D, and E in Figure 1) commenced prior to the recording of the first 3D survey. After the first 3D survey, steam injection was implemented in four stages at 10 additional western SAGD well pairs before 2006. The second 3D survey was conducted in 2006 in the northern part (4.3 km2) of the 2002 baseline survey, where the active 15 SAGD wells exist.
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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.