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Introduction

Heavy oil and bitumen constitute the largest easily accessible remaining hydrocarbon deposits in the world, with the greatest potential resources found in Canada, Venezuela, and the former Soviet Union. There are many ways to produce these assets, starting with surface mining of the shallow oil sands to various in situ recovery methods.

Heavy oil can sometimes be produced cold, whereas bitumen requires heating or injection of solvents to be mobilized. Cold production of heavy oil may or may not be successfully monitored by electromagnetic surveys (EM), depending on the recovery technique. Slow drainage by pumping the oil is no different from other oil production in terms of EM and should hence be successful, but for the process known as cold heavy-oil production with sand (CHOPS), it is unclear whether this can be successfully monitored by EM because the recovery rate is only 10% and most of the oil and sand is produced from so-called “wormholes,” which affect only restricted parts of the reservoir.

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