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Introduction

The Whitesands project is located in the Athabasca Oil Sands near Conklin, Alberta (Figure 1). Toe-to-Heel-Air-Injection (THAITM) is an in situ controlled combustion process that cracks, upgrades, and mobilizes heavy oil. The Whitesands pilot project is designed around three well pairs producing from a central facility. Air injection commenced on the first well pair in July 2006. Air injection on the second well pair was initiated in January 2007 and on the third pair in June 2007. The project’s first THAI and CAPRITM well was drilled in the second quarter of 2008, which also incorporated a revised completion design to improve downhole sand control.

The position and progress of the combustion front is being monitored using tilt meters, passive seismic, and active 4D seismic. Each of the three methods identifies the combustion zone, but the active 4D seismic method provides the most reliable and detailed information.

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