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Monitoring injections is important for optimal reservoir management of any enhanced oil recovery. Monitoring is of particular importance in the case of steam injections, which often have small economic margins and where significant material property changes take place. Imaging can be used to optimize the injection, make informed reservoir engineering decisions, and help understand the mechanics of the injection.

Monitoring the steam chamber growth is critical in optimizing heavy-oil recovery; it ensures that the stimulation is confined to the reservoir and helps identify bypassed regions. Steam injection results in geomechanical strains associated with increased pore pressure, thermal stress changes, and dramatic changes in material properties associated with heating the reservoir sufficiently to mobilize the heavy oil/bitumen. This geomechanical deformation may be marked by seismic deformation and the release of seismic energy as fractures adjust to the strain field. Deformation may also be evident in surface expansion or subsidence. Monitoring the microseismic activity with sensitive seismometers and surface deformation with precise tiltmeters could allow the steam injection to be tracked with complementary technologies that respond to different expressions of the geomechanical deformation.

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